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As Widmu of Francis II. of France, a facsimile of the original drawing by Cloud, presented 
the Bibliothcque Nationals, Paris. Reproduced expressly for this Publication. 




ll'n'iit/i (oiii posed of the flowers mentioned in Shakespeare's dirges. 




571 33 







LTHOUGH tradition has not informed us whether our first 
parents made any marked change in their scanty garments on 
the death of their near relatives, it is certain that the fashion of 
wearing mourning and the institution of funereal ceremonies and 
rites are of the most remote antiquity. Herodotus tells us that 
the Egyptians over 3,000 years ago selected yellow as the 
colour which denoted that a kinsman was lately deceased. 
They, moreover, shaved their eyebrows when a relative died ; 
but the death of a dog or a cat, regarded as divinities by this 

curious people, was a matter of much greater importance to them, for then they not only 
shaved their eyebrows, but every hair on their bodies was plucked out ; and doubtless this 
explains the reason why so many elaborate wigs are to be seen in the various museums 
devoted to Egyptian antiquities. It would require a volume to give an idea of the 
singular funereal ceremonials of this people, with whom death was regarded, so to speak, as 
a "speciality;" for their religion was mainly devoted to the adtus of the departed, and 
consequently innumerable monumental tombs still exist all over Egypt, the majority of which 
are full of mummies, whose painted cases are most artistic. 

The cat was worshipped as a divinity by the Egyptians. Magnificent tombs were 
erected in its honour, sacrifices and devotions were offered to it ; and, as has already 


been said, it was customary for the people of the house to shave their heads and eyebrows 
whenever Pussy departed the family circle. Possibly it was their exalted position in Egypt 
which eventually led to cats being considered the " familiars " of witches in the Middle 

FIG. I. An Egyptian Lady preparing to go into Mourning for the death of her pet Cat. From a picture by 


Ages, and even in our own time, for belief in witchcraft is not extinct. The kindly 
Egyptians made mummies of their cats and dogs, and it is presumable that, since Egypt is 
a corn growing, and hence a rat and mouse producing country, both dogs and cats, as killers 
of these vermin, were regarded with extreme veneration on account of their exterminating 



qualities. Their mummies are often both curious and comical, for the poor beast's quaint 
figure and face are frequently preserved with an indescribably grim realism, after the lapse 
of many ages. 

FIG. 2. Egyptian Maiden presenting Incense to the new-made Mummy of a Cat. 

The funeral processions of the Egyptians were magnificent ; for with the principal 
members of the family of the deceased, if he chanced to be of royal or patrician rank, walked 
in stately file numerous priests, priestesses, and officials wearing mourning robes, and, 
together with professional mourners, filling the air with horrible howls and cries. Their 
descendants still produce these strident and dismal lamentations on similar occasions. 


I HE Egyptian Pyramids, which were included among the seven wonders 01 
the world, are seventy in number, and are masses of stone or brick, with 
square bases and triangular sides. Although various opinions have prevailed 
as to their use, as that they were erected for astronomical purposes, for 
resisting the encroachment of the sand of the desert, for granaries, reservoirs, 
or sepulchres, the last-mentioned hypothesis has been proved to be correct, in recent times, by 
the excavations of Vyse, who expended nearly 10,000 in investigating their object. They 

Fir,. 3. The Pyramids and Great Sphinx. From a pen-and-ink sketch by HORACE VERNF.T. 

were the tombs of monarchs of Egypt who flourished from the Fourth to the Twelfth Dynasty, 
none having been constructed later than that time ; the subsequent kings being buried at 
Abydos, Thebes, and other places, in tombs of a very different character. 

The first, or Great Pyramid, was the sepulchre of the Cheops of Herodotus, the Chembes, 
or Chemmis, of Diodorus, and the Suphis ot Manetho and Eratosthenes. Its height was 
480 feet 9 inches, and its base 764 feet square. In other words, it was higher than St. Paul's 
Cathedral, and built on an area the size of Lincoln's Inn Fields. It has been, however, much 
spoiled, and stripped of its exterior blocks for the building of Cairo. The original sepulchral 
chamber, called the Subterranean Apartment, 46 feet by 27 feet, and 1 1 feet 6 inches high, 


has been hewn in the solid rock, and was reached by the original passage of 320 feet long, 
which descended to it by an entrance at the foot of the pyramid. A second chamber, with 
a triangular roof, 17 feet by 18 feet 9 inches, and 20 feet 3 inches high, was entered by a 
passage rising to an inclination of 26 18', terminating in a horizontal passage. It is called 
the Queen's Chamber, and occupies a position nearly in the centre of the pyramid. The 
monument probably owing to the long life attained by the monarch still progressing, a third 
chamber, called the King's, was finally constructed, by prolonging the ascending passage oi 

FIG. 4. Mummies of Cats and Dogs. British Museum and Museum of the Louvre. 

the Queen's Chamber for 1 50 feet farther into the very centre of the pyramid, and, after a 
short horizontal passage, making a room 17 feet i inch by 34 feet 3 inches, and 19 feet i inch 
high. The changes which took place in this pyramid gave rise to various traditions, even in 
the days of Herodotus, Cheops being reported to lie buried in a chamber surrounded by the 
waters of the Nile. It took a long time for its construction 100,000 men being employed 
on it probably for above hall a century, the duration of the reign of Cheops. The operations 


in this pyramid by General Vyse gave rise to the discovery of marks scrawled in red ochre 
in a kind of cursive hieroglyph, on the blocks brought from the quarries of Tourah. These 
contained the name and titles of Khufu (the hieroglyphic form of Cheops) ; numerals and 
directions for the position of materials, etc. 

The second Pyramid was built by Suphis II., or Kephren, who reigned 66 years, 
according to Manethro, and who appears to have attained a great age. It has two sepulchral 
chambers, and must have been broken into by the Calif Alaziz Othman Ben-Yousouf, 
A.D. 1196. Subsequently it was opened by Belzoni. The masonry is inferior to that of the 
first Pyramid, but it was anciently cased below with red granite. 

The third Pyramid, built by Menkara, who reigned 63 years, is much smaller than the 
other two, and has also two sepulchral chambers, both in the solid rock. The lower chamber, 
which held a sarcophagus of rectangular shape, of whinstone, had a pointed roof, cut like an 
arch inside ; but the cedar coffin, in shape of a mummy, had been removed to the upper or 
large apartment, and its contents there rifled. Amongst the debris of the coffin and in the 
chambers were found the legs and part of the trunk of a body with linen wrapper, supposed 
by some to belong to the monarch, but by others to an Arab, on account of the anchylosed 
right knee. This body and fragments of the coffin were brought to the British Museum ; 
but the stone sarcophagus was unfortunately lost off Carthagena, by the sinking of the vessel 
in which it was being transported to England. 

There are six other Pyramids of inferior size and interest at Gizeh ; one at Abou Rouash, 
which is ruined, but of large dimensions ; another at Zowyet El Arrian, still more ruined ; 
another at Reegah, a spot in the vicinity of Abooseer, also much dilapidated, and built for the 
monarch User-en-Ra, by some supposed to be Busiris. There are five of these monuments 
at Abooseer, one with a name supposed to be that of a monarch of the Third Dynasty ; and 
another with that of the king Sahura. A group of eleven Pyramids remains at Sakkara, and 
five other Pyramids are at Dashour, the northernmost of which, built of brick, is supposed to 
be that of the king Asychis of Herodotus, and has a name of a king apparently about the 
Twelfth Dynasty. Others are at Meydoon and Illahoon, Biahmo and Medinat El Fyoum, 
apparently the sepulchres of the last kings of the Twelfth Dynasty. 

In Nubia, the ancient ^Ethiopia, are several Pyramids, the tombs of the monarchs of 
Meroe and of some of the Ethiopian conquerors of Egypt. They are taller in proportion to 
their base than the Egyptian Pyramids, and generally have a sepulchral hall, or propylon, with 
sculptures, which faces the east. The principal groups of these Pyramids are at Bege Rauie, or 
Begromi, 17 N. lat, in one of which, gold rings and other objects of late art, resembling that 
of the Ptolemaic period, were found. 

The numerous Pyramids of Mexico are of vast size and importance, but their purpose is 
not yet fully ascertained. Completely covered as they are with dense vegetation, filled with 


venomous reptiles, they arc difficult to investigate, but they were evidently much the same 
in shape and structure as the Egyptian, and their entrances were richly sculptured. 

The art of preserving the body after death by embalming was invented by the Egyptians, 

whose prepared bodies are known by the name of mummies. This art seems to have derived 

its origin from the idea that the preservation of the body was necessary for the return of the 

soul to the human form after it had completed its cycle of existence of three or ten thousand 

years. Physical and sanitary reasons may also have induced the ancient Egyptians ; and the 

legend of Osiris, whose body, destroyed by Typhon, was found by I sis, and embalmed by 

his son Anubis, gave a religious sanction to the rite, all deceased persons being supposed 

to be embalmed after the model of Osiris in the abuton of Philae. One of the earliest 

embalmments on record is that of the patriarch Jacob ; and the body of Joseph was thus 

prepared, and transported out of Egypt. The following seems to have been the usual rule 

observed after death. The relations of the deceased went through the city chanting a wail for 

the dead. The corpse of a male was at once committed into the charge of undertakers ; if a 

female, it was detained at home until decomposition had begun. The parascldstes, or flank- 

inciser of the district, a person of low class, conveyed the corpse home. A scribe marked with 

a reed-pen a line on the left side beneath the ribs, down which line the paraschistes made a 

deep incision with a rude knife of stone, or probably flint. He was then pelted by those 

around with stones, and pursued with curses. Then the taricheutes, or preparer, proceeded to 

arrange the corpse- for the reception of the salts and spices necessary forits preservation, and 

the future operations depended on the sum to be expended upon the task. When Herodotus 

visited Egypt, three methods prevailed : the first, accessible only to the wealthy, consisted in 

passing peculiar drugs through the nostrils, into the cavities of the skull, rinsing the body in 

palm wine, and filling it with resins, cassia, and other substances, and stitching up the incision 

in the left flank. The mummy was then steeped in natron for 70 days, and wrapped up in linen 

cemented by gums, and set upright in a wooden coffin against the walls of the house or tomb. 

This process cost what would now amount in our money to about .725. The second process 

consisted in injecting into the body cedar oil, soaking it in a solution of natron for 70 days, 

which eventually destroyed everything but the skin and bones. The expense was a mina, 

relatively, about 243. In the third process, used for the poorer classes, the corpse was 

simply washed in myrrh, and salted for 70 days. When thus prepared the bodies were ready 

for sepulture, but they were often kept some time before burial often at home and were even 

produced at festive entertainments, to recall to the guests the transient lot of humanity. All 

classes were embalmed, even malefactors ; and those who were drowned in the Nile or killed 

by crocodiles received an embalmment from the city nearest to which the accident occurred. 

The Ethiopians used similar means of embalming to preserve the dead, and other less 

successful means were used by nations of antiquity. The Persians employed wax, the 



Assyrians, honey ; the Jews embalmed their monarchs with spices, with which the body of 
Our Lord was also anointed ; Alexander the Great was preserved in wax and honey, and some 
Roman bodies have been found thus embalmed. The Guanches, or ancient inhabitants of the 
Canary Isles, used an elaborate process like the Egyptian ; and dessicated bodies, preserved 
by atmospheric or other circumstances for centuries, have been found in France, Sicily, 
England, and America, especially in Central America, and Peru. The art of embalming was 
probably never lost in Europe, and De Bils, Ruysch, Swammerdam, and Clauderus boast of 
great success in it. During the present century it has been almost entirely discarded, except 
under very exceptional circumstances. 


1 1 

P **-"^. ^-. .' ".!-,- 

FIG. 5. Tomb of Rimitct Singh at Lahore. 

EAVING the Oriental and remotely ancient nations aside, we will now consider the 
history of mourning as it was used by those peoples from whom we immediately 
derive our funereal customs. In ancient times, even amongst the Greeks and 
Romans, it was the custom to immolate victims either slaves or captives on the 
tomb of the departed, in order to appease the spirit, or that the soul might 
be accompanied by spirits of inferior persons to the realms of eternal bliss ; and in 
India we have some difficulty even now in preventing the 
burning of a widow on the funeral pyre of her husband, 
instances of this barbarous custom occurring almost every year, 
notwithstanding the vigilance of our Government. 

It would be extremely interesting to trace to their sources all the various 
rites and ceremonies connected with our principal subject, of every nation, savage or civilised, 



ancient or modern ; but the task would be quite beyond my limits. A thorough investigation 
of the matter, assisted very materially by a systematic investigation of that mine of curious 
informationJPicard's famous " Ci'n'moHies et continues religienscs de tons les f>enples"\\\\\c\\ contains 

so many original letters from missionaries of the i6th and i/th Centuries, obliges me to come 
to the conclusion that there is, after all, not so much variety in the funereal ceremonies of the 
world as we imagine. Those of the Chinese and Japanese resemble in many ways, very 
strikingly too, the ceremonies which the Roman Catholics employ to this day : there are the 
same long processions of priests and officials; and Picard shows us a sketch of a very grand 
burial at Pekin, in 1675, in which we behold the body of the Emperor of the Celestials 
stretched upon a bier covered with deep violet satin, and surrounded by many lighted candles ; 
prayers were said for the repose of the soul; and, as all the world knows, the costumes of the 
priests of Buddha are supposed to have undergone, together with their creed and ritual, a 
great change in the early part of the i;th Century, owing to the extraordinary influence of 
the Jesuit missionaries who followed St. Francis Xavier into India and Japan. The Japanese 
cremated their dead and preserved the ashes ; the Chinese buried theirs ; but the Cingalese, 
after burning the body, scattered the ashes to the winds ; whilst a sect of Persians exposed 
their dead upon the top of high towers, and permitted the birds of prey to perform the 
duty which we assign to the gravedigger. 

Cemeteries existed in the East at a remote epoch, and were rendered so beautiful with 
handsome mausoleums, groves of stately cypresses and avenues of lovely rose bushes, that they 
are now used as public promenades. On certain days of the year multitudes resort to them for 
purposes of prayer, and the Armenian Christians illuminate theirs with lamps and tapers on the 
annual feast of the commemoration of the departed. Perhaps India possesses the most 
elegant tombs in the world, mainly built by the sovereigns of the Mongol dynasty. None 
among them is so sumptuous as the mausoleum of Taj Mahal, situated about a mile outside 
the port of Agra. It was built by Shah Jehan for himself and his wife Arjimand Banoo, 
surnamed Mumtaz Mahal ; 20,000 men were employed for 20 years erecting it. It is 
constructed of the purest white marble, relieved with precious stones. In the interior is the 
sepulchral apartment, which is chiefly decorated with lapis lazuli. The tombs of the Emperor 
and Empress, which stand under the dome, are covered with costly Indian shawls of green 
cashmere, heavily embroidered with gold. 

Another most beautiful specimen of Mahometan sepulchral architecture is the tomb of 
Runjeet Singh, near Lahore, which, though less known, is externally as magnificent as the 
mausoleum above described. 


prohibited the immolation of human victims on the 
tombs of the dead, and decreed that relatives should signify 
their sorrow by the manner in which they tore their 
garments. They rent them according to the degrees of 
affinity and parentage. Sometimes the tears were horizontal, 
and this indicated that a father, mother, wife, brother, or 
sister had died ; but if the tear was longitudinal, it 
signified that some person had departed who was not a 
blood relation. An idea can be formed of the appalling destruction of clothing which must 
have occurred on certain occasions amongst the ancient Jews, when we remember that 
on the death of a king everybody was expected to tear their garments longitudinally, and 
to go about with them in tatters for nine days. This curious custom possibly explains 
Solomon's proverb, "There is a time to rend and a time to mend." 

The High Priest among the Jews was exempted from wearing mourning. The French, 
when they embraced Christianity, added many Jewish customs to their own : up to the time 
of the Revolution of 1789, their Grand Chancellor, or Chief Magistrate, was not bound to 
wear mourning even for his own father. 

The Greeks, doubtless, derived their funereal ceremonies from the Egyptians, and 
it is from this ancient people that we obtain the custom of wearing black as mourning. 
When a person in Greece was dangerously ill and not expected to recover, branches of 
lanrestinus and achantlius were hung up over the door, and the relatives hurried round the 
bed and prayed to Mercury, as the conductor of souls, to have mercy upon the invalid, and 
either to cure him completely or else help his soul to cross the river Styx. If the death 
really occurred, then the house was filled with cries and lamentations. The body was washed 
and perfumed, and covered with rich robes ; a garland of flowers was placed on its head, and 
in its hand a cake made of wheat and honey, to appease Cerberus, the porter of Hell'; 
and in the mouth a purse of money, in order to defray the expenses of Charon, the ferryman 
of Styx. In this state the deceased was exposed for two days in the vestibule of the house. 
At the door was a vase full of water, destined to purify the hands of those who touched 
the corpse. 

Visitors to Paris will remember how often they have seen a coffin exhibited in the 
doorway of a house, elaborately covered with flowers, having at its head a crucifix, and many 
lights surrounding it, everybody as they passed saluting it the men by taking off their 


hats, and the women by making the sign of the cross, often using for this purpose holy 
water offered to them on a brush by an acolyte. Now, the Greeks used blessed water 
when they exposed their dead in front of their dwellings ; possibly the French custom is 


FIG. 6. A Greek Tomb: the Monument of Tliemistoeles, Athens. 

derived from the Grecian. The funeral in Greece took place three days after the exhibition 
of the remains, and usually occurred before sunrise, so as to avoid ostentation. Many women 
surrounded the bier, weeping and howling, and not a few, being professionals, were paid for 
their trouble. The corpse was placed on a chariot, in a coffin made of cypress wood. The 


male relatives walked behind, those who were of close kinship having their heads shaved. 
They usually cast down their eyes, and were invariably dressed in black. A choir of musicians 
came next, singing doleful tunes. The procession, as a rule, had not far to go, for the body 
of a wealthy person was usually buried in his garden if his city house did not possess one, 
in that of his villa residence. 

The Greeks, it will thus be seen, buried their dead, and did not cremate them as did the 
Romans ; but in the latter years of the Republic both forms of disposing of the body were 
common. After the burial, libations of wine were poured over the grave, and all objects of 
clothing which had belonged to the deceased were solemnly burnt. The ninth and fourteenth 
days after the funeral, the parents, dressed in white, visited the grave, and a ceremony was 
gone through for the repose of the soul. The anniversary of the death was also observed, 

FIG. 7. Gallo-Roman bas-relief found in Paris about f fly years ago representing a family surroundm 
the body of a woman who has recently died. Museum of the Louvre. 

and the Greeks, moreover, had a general commemoration of the dead in the month of March. 
And here let us make, a digression to see how very closely the Greeks must have influenced 
the early Christians, and consequently their more immediate descendants, the Roman Catholics, 
in the matter of religious ceremonies ; for it is usual among Catholics to hear a Mass for the 
Dead a week after the death, and also another on the anniversary. The universal feast of 
the dead is observed by them, however, not in the month of March, but in that of November'. 
People who have lived in Paris will know how very largely these funereal ceremonies enter 
into the manners and customs of that gay city, so that it is not unfrequent for foreign 
residents to observe that their time is passed in perpetually going to funerals; for, if you have 
a large acquaintance, you are sure to receive at least twenty or thirty invitations to 
funerals and funereal commemorations in the course of the year. Of course, everybody 
will remember how on the Continent the first day of November is devoted to visiting the 
cemeteries and decorating the tombs of relatives and friends. 


To return to the Greeks, it should be observed that their respect for the dead was 
remarkable, even amongst the ancients. If a man accidentally found a body on the high-road, 
he was obliged to turn aside and bury it. When the people saw a funeral procession pass, 
they uncovered their heads and murmured a prayer. The laws against the violation of the 
sepulchres of the dead were most severe, and any one who was caught damaging a tomb was 
usually flogged for his trouble, but if he overthrew it and disturbed the body, he was burnt 

If a person died at sea, all the people on board the ship assembled at sunset, and 
cried out three times the name of the departed, who was usually thrown overboard. In the 
morning they repeated these calls, and so forth until the ship entered port. This was done 
in order to recall the names of the deceased, or at any rate to keep them propitious. 

When an illustrious person died in Greece, the ceremonies were on a most elaborate 
scale, and even accompanied by games, which lasted for many days. Readers of Homer's 
>" Iliad "will remember his magnificent description of the death and funeral of Patroclus. 

Among the Romans the men were not obliged to wear mourning, but it was the fashion 
for women to do so. Very wisely, children under three years of age were not forced to 
put on black, even for their parents, and after that age, only for as many months as they 
had lived years. 

The Roman ladies only wore mourning for their parents for one year. Men were expected 
to wear it for the same period in the case of the death of a father, mother, wife, sister, or 
brother. Numa fixed the period of wearing deep mourning for the nearest of kin as ten 
months. People, however, were not obliged to wear mourning for any of their relatives who 
had been in prison, were bankrupt, or in any way outlawed. Numa published a minute 
series of laws regulating the mourning of his people. A very odd item in these included 
an order that women should not scratch their faces, or make an exceptional fuss at a public 
funeral. This was possibly decreed to put some stop to abuses which the hired mourners 
had occasioned : scratching their faces, for instance, so as to injure themselves, and making an 
over-dismal wail which was offensive to the genuine mourners. 

For freedmen and slaves among the Romans, the greatest mark of respect was the 
erection of a monument or inscription in the tomb reserved for the family they had served. 
Thousands of these inscriptions to slaves and faithful servants still exist, and lead us to hope 
that the hardships of slavery in ancient Rome were often softened by mutual kindness and 
respect. One of the most touching of these is in a tomb on the Appian Road, which is 
supposed to have belonged to the attendants of Livia, the illustrious consort of Augustus. 
It runs : 

"To my beloved Julia, my slave-woman, whose last illness I have watched and attended 
as if it had been that of my own mother." 


Tombs of slaves who were martyrs to the Christian religion are very frequent, and 
their inscriptions are usually of a most pathetic description. 

The ashes of the dead, after the solemn burning of the body, were carefully gathered 
together and placed in an often very beautifully painted urn, and taken to the family tomb 
on the Appian Way, where an appropriate inscription was affixed to the wall under the niche 
containing the vase or urn. Little glass bottles, said to be filled with the tears of the nearest 
relations, were likewise enclosed in the urn, or else hung up beside it. Thousands of these, 
brilliant, after ages, with iridescent colours, are still found in the Roman tombs. 

It was not imperative for a man in old Rome to wear mourning at all ; but it was 
considered very bad taste for a male not to show some external sign of respect for his dead. 
With women, on the other hand, it was obligatory. 

On great occasions, such as the death of an Emperor or a defeat of the army in 
foreign parts, the Senate, the Knights, and the whole Roman people assumed mourning ; and 
the same ceremony was observed when any general of the Roman army was slain in battle. 
When Manlius was precipitated from the Tarpeian rock, half the people put on mourning. 
The defeat at Cannae, the conspiracy of Catilina, and the death of Julius Caesar were also 
events celebrated in Rome with public mourning ; but during the whole period of the 
Republic it was not compulsory for people to notice death, either publicly or privately. 

The first public mourning recorded as being observed throughout the entire Roman 
Empire was that for Augustus. It lasted for fifty days for the men, and the whole year 
for women. The next public event which called forth a decree commanding that the entire 
people of Rome and the Empire should wear mourning, was the death of Livia, mother of 
Tiberius. The same thing occurred at the death of Drusus ; and Caligula followed the 
example, and ordered general mourning on the death of Drusilla. 

Private mourning, which was among the Romans, as we have already intimated, not at 
all compulsory, could be broken by events such as the birth of a son or daughter, the 
marriage of a child, and the return of a prisoner of war. Men wore lighter mourning than 
women, but were expected to absent themselves from places of public amusement. 

The usual colour adopted by women for mourning, under the Roman Empire, was a 
peculiar blue-black serge, and an absolutely black veil. As with us, occasionally, the wearing 
of mourning brought forth some sharp remarks from the satirical poets. Thus, Macrobius tells 
us, in his Saturnalia, that Croesus on one occasion went to the Senate wearing the deepest 
mourning for the largest lamprey in his tank, which had died. 

Women were not allowed to remarry within the year of their husband's death. Imperial 
permission, however, might smooth this difficulty. 



MONG the early Christians the sincerest respect for the 
memory of their dead was paid ; for most of them, in 
the first Centuries of the Church, were either martyrs 
or near connections of such as had suffered for the faith. 
The Catacombs are covered with inscriptions recording 
the deaths of martyrs ; and many of these memorials 
are exceedingly pathetic, testifying to the fortitude 
with which the first Christians endured any manner 

of torture rather than deny the new faith which had been imparted to them 
by Divine revelation. The remains of the martyrs, however mangled they might 
be, were gathered together with the greatest reverence, and their blood placed in little 
phials of glass, which were considered relics of a most precious nature. The Catacombs, 
which served the first Christians as churches as well as places of burial, are called after the 
most distinguished martyrs who were buried therein. In that of St. Calixtus, for instance 
where that early and martyred Pope was interred about two centuries ago was found the body 
of Saint Cecilia, "the sweet patroness of music." With such precaution had her remains been 
transported to their place of interment, that Bernini, the most eminent sculptor of the i/th 
Century, was able to take a cast of them, which he subsequently worked into a lovely statue, 
representing the saint in the graceful and modest attitude in which it is said her body was 
found after the lapse of a thousand years. This exquisite work of art is to be seen in the church 
which bears Saint Cecilia's name, in the Trastevere; and a fine replica of it is in the chapel of 
St. Cecilia, in the Oratory, Brompton. 

The Catacombs are subterraneous chambers and passages usually formed in the rock, 
which is soft and easily excavated, and are to be found in almost every country in which such 
rocks exist. In most cases, probably, they originated in mere quarries, which afterwards came 
to be used either as places of sepulchre for the dead, or as hiding-places for the persecuted 
living. The most celebrated Catacombs in existence are those on the Via Appia, at a short 
distance from Rome. To these dreary crypts the early Christians were in the habit of retiring, 
in order to celebrate Divine worship in times of persecution, and in them were buried many 
of the saints, the early Popes, and martyrs. They consist of long narrow galleries, usually 
about eight feet high and five wide, which twist and turn in all directions. The graves were 
constructed by hollowing out a portion of the rock, at the side of the gallery, large enough 
to contain the body. The entrance was then built up with stones, on which usually the 


letters D. M. (Deo Maximo), or XP, the first two letters of the Greek name of Christ, 
were inscribed. Though latterly devoted to purposes of Christian interment exclusively, it is 
believed that the Catacombs were at one time used as burying-places for Pagans also, and 
there are one or two which were evidently entirely devoted to the Jews. At irregular 

FIG. 8. Divine Service in the Catacombs of St. Calixtiis, A.D. 50. 

intervals, these galleries expand into wide and lofty vaulted chambers, in which the service of 
the Church was no doubt celebrated, and which still have the appearance of chapels. The 
original extent of the Catacombs is uncertain, the guides maintaining that they have a length 
of twenty miles, whereas about six only can now be ascertained to exist, and of these, many 
portions have either fallen in or become dangerous. When Rome was besieged by the 



Lombards in the 8th Century, several of the Catacombs were destroyed, and the Popes afterwards 
caused the remains of many of the saints and martyrs to be removed and buried in the 
churches. The Catacombs at Naples, cut into the Capo di Monte, resemble those at Rome, 
and evidently were used for the same purposes, being partially covered with remarkable 
Christian symbols. At Palermo and Syracuse, there are similar Catacombs, and they are also 
to be found in Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Persia, and Egypt. At Milo, one of the Cyclades, 
there is a hill which is honeycombed with a labyrinth of tombs running in every direction. 
In these, bassirilievi and figures in terra-cotta have been found, which prove them to be long 
anterior to the Christian era. In Peru and other parts of South America, ancient Catacombs 

Kit;. 9. Crypt of a Chapel in the Catacomb of St. Agnes, without the walls of Rome (restored), showing 
the manner in which the bodies of the early Christians were arranged one abm'e the other. 
Tlie front of each tomb ims of course walled up. From the work on the Catacombs of Rome, 
by M. FERRET. 

still exist. The Catacombs of Paris are a species of charnel-house, into which the 
contents of such bury ing-places as were found to be pestilential, and the bodies of some of 
the victims of the Revolution, were cast by a decree of the Government. The skulls are 
arranged in curious forms, and a visit to these weird galleries is one of the sights of Paris, 
which few strangers, however, are privileged to study. The Capuchin monks have frequently 
attached to their monasteries, a cloister filled with earth brought from the Holy Land. In 
this the monks are buried for a time, until their bones are quite fleshless, when they are 
arranged in surprising groups in the long corridors of a series of galleries, and produce 
sometimes the reverse of a solemn effect. 



FIG. io. An Anglo-Saxon Widow Lady. The tipper garment is of black cloth, edged with fur, and a veil 
of black gaiizi hangs from the head. gth Century M.S., National Library, Paris. 

S the Church emerged from the Catacombs, and was enabled to take her 
position in the world, her funereal ceremonies became more elaborate and 
costly. Masses for the dead were offered up in the churches, to the 
accompaniment of music and singing ; and the funereal ceremonies which 
attended the burial of the Empress Theodolinda, A.D. 595, the friend and 
correspondent of Pope St. Gregory the Great, lasted for over a week. The Cathedral of 
Monza, where she was buried, was hung with costly black stuff, and the body of the Empress 
was exhibited under a magnificent catafalque, surrounded with lights, and was visited by 
pilgrims from all parts of Lombardy. Many hundreds of masses were said for her in all the 
churches, and all day the great bells of the cathedral and of the various monastic establishments 
tolled dolefully. At the end of the week the body of the illustrious Empress was placed in 
the vault under the high altar, where it remains to this day ; and above it was a shrine filled 
with extraordinary relics, many of which still subsist, as, for instance, her celebrated "Hen and 
Chickens" a plateau or tray of silver gilt with some gold chickens with ruby eyes upon it 



and the famous iron crown, which is, indeed, of gold, having one of the nails said to have 
been used at the Crucifixion beaten in a single band round the inside. Napoleon I. crowned 
himself, at Milan, King of Italy, with this singular relic. 

Our Catholic ancestors spent large sums of money upon their funerals. The pious practice 
of praying for the dead, which they doubtless derived from the Hebrews, induced them to 
secure the future exertions of their friends, by building chanteries and special chapels in the 

FIG. II. An Anglo-Saxon 1'rii-st wearing a black Dalmatic, edged with fur, ready to "say a Requiem Mass. 

From an early MS., loth Century. 

churches, with a view of reminding the survivors of their demise. Guilds, which by the 
way, still exist, were created for the purpose of binding people together in a holy league 
of prayer for the souls of the faithful departed. We find in the laws established for the 
Guild of Abbotsbury, the following regulations :" If any one belonging to the association 
chance to die, each member shall pay a penny for the good of the soul, before the body 
be laid in the grave. If he die in the neighbourhood, the steward (secretary) shall enquire 


when he is to be interred, and shall summon as many members as he can, to assemble and 
carry the corpse in as honourable a manner as possible to the grave or minster, and there 
pray devoutly for his soul's rest." With the same view, our ancestors were ever anxious to 
obtain a place of sepulchre in the most frequented churches. The monuments raised over 
their remains, whilst keeping them safe from profanation, recalled them to memory, and solicited 
on their behalf the charity of the faithful. The usual inscription on the earlier Christian 
tombs in this country was the pathetic " Of your charity, pray for me." In the Guild of All 
Souls, in London, when any member died, it was the custom of the survivors to give the poor 


FIG. 12. Funeral of St. Edward the Confessor, January ji/i, 1066. The body, covered with a silken 
pall adorned with crosses, is carried by eight men, and follcm>ed by many priests, to Westminster 
Abbey, which he had founded. Under the bier are seen two small figures ringing bells. From 
the Bayeux Tapestry, worked by Matilda of Flanders, Queen of William the Conqueror, and 
preserved in the Cathedral at Bayeux nth Century. 

a loaf for the good of the soul ; and the writer can perfectly remember, that some thirty year.s 
since, in remote parts of Norfolk, when anybody died, it was the fashion to distribute loaves of 
bread in the church porch as a dole. The funeral of an Anglo-Saxon was thus conducted : 
The body of the deceased was placed on a bier or in a hearse. On it lay the book of the 
gospels, the code of his or her belief, and the cross, the signal of hope. A pall of silk or 
linen was thrown over it till it reached the place of interment. The friends were summoned, 
and strangers deemed it a duty to join the funeral procession. The clergy walked before or 
on each side, bearing lighted tapers in their hands, and chanting a portion of the psalter. 
If it were in the evening, the night was passed in exercises of devotion. In the morning, 


mass was sung and the body deposited with solemnity in the grave, the sawlshot paid, and 
a liberal donation distributed to the poor. Before the Reformation, it was the excellent custom 
for all persons who met a funeral to uncover and stand reverentially still until it had 
passed. The pious turned back, and accompanied the mourners a part of the way to the 
grave. It is pleasant to notice that this essentially humane habit of taking off the hat and 
behaving gravely as a funeral goes by, which is universal upon the Continent, is at last 
becoming more and more general here. The homage of the living to the mortal remains of 
even the humblest is excellent, and one which should be earnestly encouraged, being far 
more beneficial in its results than the heaping of costly flowers upon a hearse, which no one 
notices as it passes, laden with its ephemeral offerings, to the cemetery. 

The funeral of Edward the Confessor was exceedingly magnificent, and the shrine built 
over his relics, behind the high altar of the glorious abbey which he founded, is still an 
object of reverence with our Roman Catholic fellow-citizens, who, on St. Edward's Day, are 
permitted by a tolerant age to offer their devotions before the resting-place of the last of our 
Saxon Kings. But our first Norman King was buried with scant ceremony. He died 1087, 
at Hermentrude, a village near Rouen, having been taken suddenly ill on his way to England. 
No sooner was the illustrious king deceased, than his servants plundered the house and even 
the corpse, flinging it naked upon the floor. Herleadin, a peasant, undertook at last to convey 
the body to Caen, where it was to be buried in the Abbey of St. Stephen, Prince Henry and 
the monks being present. Scarcely, however, was the mass of requiem begun, when the 
church took fire, and everybody fled, leaving William the Conqueror's hearse neglected 
in the centre of the transept. < At last the flames were extinguished, the interrupted 
service finished, and the funeral sermon preached. Just, however, as the coffin was about to 
be lowered into the vault, Anselm Fitz-Arthur, a Norman gentleman, stood forth and forbade 
the interment. " This spot," cried he, " is the site of my father's house, which this dead man 
burnt to ashes. On the ground it occupied I built this church, and William's body shall not 
desecrate it." After much ado, however, Fitz-Arthur was prevailed upon by Prince Henry to 
allow the body to be buried, on the payment of sixty shillings as the price of the grave. In 
the I7th Century the Calvinists ravaged the tomb and broke the monument. It was restored 
in 1642, but finally swept away, together with that of Queen Matilda, in the Revolution of 1793. 



FIG. 13. The Shrine of the Confessor^ in Westminster Abbey, 


FIG. 14. Funeral of an Abbess lotk Century. From a MS. 

ERHAPS the most curious funeral on record occurred just at the dawn of the 
Rennaissance that of the ill-fated Inez de Castro "the Queen crowned 
after death" who was murdered in the I4th Century by three assassins in 
her own apartment at Coimbra. " Being conveyed," says the Chronicle of 
Fray Jao das Reglas, "to the chapel of the neighbouring convent, her 
body was arrayed in spotless white and decked with roses. The nuns surrounded the 
bier, and the Queen-mother of Portugal, Brittes, sat in state her crown upon her head 
and her royal robes flowing around her as chief mourner, having given an order that 
the body should not be buried until after the return of her son Don Pedro. When he did 
come back, he was transported with grief and anger at the foul murder of his consort ; and, 
throwing himself upon the corpse, clasped it to his heart, covered its pale lips, its hands, 
its feet with kisses, and, refusing all consolation, remained for thirty hours with the body clasped 
in his embrace ! At last, being overcome with fatigue, the unhappy Prince was carried away 
senseless from the piteous remains of his most dear Inez, and they were consigned to the 
grave. It was his father who had instigated the murderers to commit their foul deed, and 
this determined Pedro to take up arms against him ; and Portugal was desolated by civil war. 
Eventually the reasoning of the Queen (Brittes) prevailed, and peace was restored. Pedro, 


however, never spoke to his father again until the hour of his death, when he forgave the 
great wrong he had done him. He now ascended the throne, and his first act was to 
hunt down the three murderers, two of whom were put to death, with tortures too awful 
to describe, and the other escaped into France, where he died a beggar. After this 

retributive act, Don Pedro assembled the Cortes at Cantandes, and, 
in the presence of the Pope's Nuncio, solemnly swore that he had 
secretly married Inez de Castro at Braganza, in the presence of the 
bishop and of other witnesses." " Then occurred an event unique in 
history," continues this naive contemporary chronicle. "The body of 
Inez was lifted from the grave, placed on a magnificent throne, and 
crowned Queen of Portugal. The clergy, the nobility, and the 
people did homage to her corpse, and kissed the bones of her 
hands. There sat the dead Queen, with her yellow hair hanging like 
a veil round her ghastly form. One fleshless hand held the sceptre, 
and the other the orb of royalty. At night, after the coronation 
ceremony, a procession was formed of all the clergy and nobility, 
the religious orders and confraternities which extended over many 
miles each person holding a flaring torch in his hand, and thus 
walked from Coimbra to Alcobaga, escorting the crowned corpse 
to that royal abbey for interment. The dead Queen lay in her 
rich robes upon a chariot drawn by black mules and lighted up by 
hundreds of lights." 

The scene must indeed have been a weird one. The sable 
costumes of the bishops and priests, the incense issuing from 
innumerable censers, the friars in their quaint garments, and the 
fantastically-attired members of the various hermandades, or brother- 
hoods some of whom were dressed from head to foot entirely in scarlet, or blue, or black, 
or in white with their countenances masked and their eyes glittering through small openings 
in their cowls ; but above all, the spectre-like corpse of the Queen, on its car, and the 
grief-stricken King, who led the train when seen by the flickering light of countless torches, 
with its solemn dirge music, passing through many a mile of open country in the midnight 
hours was a vision so unreal that the chronicler describes it as "rather a phantasmagoria 
than a reality." In the magnificent abbey of Alcobasa the requiem mass was sung, and the 
corpse finally laid to rest. 

The monument still exists, with the statue, with its royal diadem and mantle, lying 
thereon. The tomb of Don Pedro is placed foot to foot with that of Inez, so the legend 
runs that at the Judgment Day they may rise together and stand face to face. 

FIG. 15. j 

Monument (restored) of the 
Queen Inez of Castro, Abbey 
of Alcobafa, Portugal. 


In 1810 the bodies of Don Pedro I. and Dona Inez de Castro were disturbed by the 
French, at the sack of Alcobaca. The skeleton of Inez was discovered to be in a singular 
state of preservation the hair exceedingly long and glossy, and the head bound with a 
golden crown set with jewels of price. Singularly enough, this crown, although very valuable, 

IMG. 16. Funeral Service, in which are shouw the Candelabra and 
Incense Vessels which were deposited in the <r<^?. Drawing of 
the I4th Century Collection of the Rev. Father COCHET. 

was kicked about by the men as a toy and thrown behind the high altar, whence, as soon as 
the troops evacuated the monastery, it was carefully taken and laid aside by the Abbot. 
Shortly afterwards it again encircled the unhappy Queen's head, when, by order of the 
Duke of Wellington, the remains were once more replaced in the tomb, with military 

FIG. 17. Angels praying over a Skull, Bas-relief of l6th Century. 


UNERAL services of great magnificence entered largely into the customs of 
this pageantic epoch ; and to this day, in Catholic countries, no religious 
ceremonies are conducted with more pomp than those intended to com- 
memorate the departed. Besides the religious orders, there were numerous 
confraternities, guilds, and brotherhoods devoted to the burying and praying 
for the deceased. As no newspapers existed in those days, when a person of distinction 
died, the " Death Crier," in some parts of England called the " Death Watch," dressed in 

FIGS. 18 & 19. Death Criers French costumes of I'jtk Century. The English dress was almost identical. From a 
rare print in the collection of Mr. RICHARD UAVKY. Engraved expressly for this publication. 

black, with a death's-head and cross-bones painted on the back and front of his gown, and 
armed with a bell, went the round of the town or village, as the case might be, shouting 
" Of your charity, good people, pray for the soul of our dear brother, [or sister] who 
departed this life at such and such an hour." Upon this the windows and doors of the 
houses were opened, and the " good people " said an ave or a pater for the " rest " of the 
dead, and at the same time the passing bell was tolled. In London, when the King or 
Queen died, the crier, or " Death Watch," who paraded our principal thoroughfares was, 


of course, a very important personage. Attended by the whole brotherhood, or guild, 
of the Holy Souls, with cross-bearer, each carrying a lighted candle, he proceeded 
processionally through the streets, notably up and down Cheapside and the Strand, solemnly 

Flo. 20. Pall from the Church of Follcuillf, France, noiu in the Museum at Amiens, It is 
of black velvet, with stripes of ivAite] silk let in, embroidered with black and gold 
thread. It was placed over the coffin. Similar palls existed in England, and one 
or two are still preserved in our national collections. 

ringing his bell, and crying out in a lugubrious voice his sad news. These criers, both in 
England and France, were paid, as officials, by the civic corporation so much per day, and were 
obliged, in addition to their usual mournful occupation, to inspect and report on the condition 


of low taverns and places of ill-fame. In the course of time they added to their "cry" news 
of a more miscellaneous character, and after the Reformation, became, we may well imagine, 
those rather musty folks the "Watch," who only disappeared from our midst as late as the early 
half of this century. 

Shakespeare, whose knowledge of Catholicism of course came to him from immediate 
tradition, possibly remembered a very ancient custom when, in Richard III., he makes the 
Duke of Glo'ster command the attendants who follow the body of Henry VI. to set it 

FlG. 21. Scene from Richard HI. The body of Henry 17. being by chance met 
ly Richard on its way to C/itrfsey, he orders the bearers to set it down, 
and then pleads his cause to the Lady Anne. 

down, an order which they obey reluctantly enough, thereby giving him an opportunity to 
make love to Lady Anne in the presence of her murdered father-in-law's remains. In 
Catholic times the streets were adorned not only by many fine crosses, such as those at 
Charing and Cheapside, but also by numerous chapels and wayside shrines. Funerals, when 
they passed these, were in the habit of stopping, and the assistants, kneeling, prayed for the 
dead person whom they were carrying to the grave. They likewise stopped, also, and very 
frequently too, at certain well-known public-houses or taverns, the members of the family of 
the deceased being obliged by custom to " wet the lips " of the " thirsty souls " who carried 



the corpse. Sometimes very disorderly scenes ensued. The hired mourners and more unruly 
members of the guilds got drunk; and it is on record that on more than one occasion the 
body was pulled out of its coffin by these rascals and outraged, to the horror and indignation of 
honest people. It has frequently occurred to the writer, that if the attendants in the curious 
scene in the tragedy just mentioned, were to convey the body of the dead King to the side 
or back of the stage, in front of some shrine or cross, and occupy themselves with prayer, 
they would render the astonishing dialogue between Glo'ster and Lady Anne much more 
intelligible than when we hear it spoken, as is usually the case, before a number of persons 
for whose ears it was certainly never intended. 

FlG. 22. Funeral of King Richard II., showing his waxen effigy. From an early MS. of FROISSART. 


MPORTANT personages in olden times in this country were usually embalmed. 
The poor, on the contrary, were rarely furnished even with a decent coffin, 
but were carried to the grave in a hired one, which, in villages, often did 
duty for many successive years. Once the brief service was said, the pauper's 
body, in its winding-sheet, was placed reverently enough in the earth, and 
covered up a fact which doubtless accounts for the numerous village legends 
of ghosts wandering about in winding-sheets. Charitable people paid for 
masses to be said by the friars for their poorer brethren, and the guilds 
paid all expenses of the funeral, which were naturally not very considerable. 
"" On the other hand, the funeral of great personages, from king to squire, 
was a function which sometimes lasted a week. The bell tolled as it still does the 
moment the death became known to the bell-ringer. Then the body was washed, embalmed 
with spices and sweet herbs, wrapped in a winding-sheet of fine linen, which, by the way, was 
often included among the wedding presents and taken down into the hall of the palace or 
manor, which was hung with black, and lighted by many tapers, and even by waxen torches 
sometimes as many as 300 and 400 of them an immense expense, considering the cost of 
wax in those days. After three days' exposition if the body remained incorrupt so long the 
corpse was sealed up in a leaden coffin, and taken to the church, where solemn masses 
were sung. The clothes we may presume the old and well-worn ones only were then 
formally distributed to the poor of the parish. Finally came the funeral banquet of " baked 
meats," to which all those, including the clergy, who had taken part in the funeral service and 
procession were invited. 

When the Sovereign or any person of royal rank deceased, a waxen presentment was 
immediately made of him as he was seen in life under the influence of sleep. This figure, 
dressed in the regal robes, was exposed upon the catafalque in the church, instead of the real 
body a custom doubtless inspired originally by hygienic motives, for frequently the funeral 
rites of a king or prince of the blood were prolonged for many days. In Westminster 
Abbey there are still several of these grim ancient waxen effigies to be seen, by special 
permission of the Dean, very faded and ghastly, but interesting as likenesses, and for the 
fragments which time has spared of their once gorgeous attire. This custom lasted with us 
until the time of William and Mary. In France it disappeared in the middle of the 
i /th Century, the last mention of it being on the occasion of the death of Anne of Austria; 
for we read in a curious letter from Guy Patin to his friend Falconet, " The Queen-Mother 
died to-day [Jan. 21, 1666]. She was immediately embalmed, and by noon her waxen effigy 
was on view at the Louvre. Thousands are pressing in to see it." 

FlG. 23. Funeral Procession of King Henry K, A.D. 1422. 



In France, so long as the wax effigy was exposed in the church or palace, sometimes for 
three weeks, the service of the royal person's table took place as usual. His or her chair of 
state was drawn up to the table, the napkin, knife and fork, spoon and glass, were in their 
usual places, and at the appointed time the dinner was served to the household, and " the 
meats, drinks, and all other goodly things " were offered before the dead prince's chair, as if 
he were still seated therein. When, however, the coffin took the place in the church of 

FIG. 24. Quern Katherine de Valois in her ]Vid<rufs Dress, A.D. 1422. The costume is of 
black brocade elaborately trimmed with Hack glass beads, and trimmed ivith white 
fur. MS. of the period. 

the wax figure, and the body was put into the grave, then the banqueting-hall was hung 
with black, and for eight days no meals were served in it of any kind. 

We still possess some curious details concerning the funeral of Henry V., who died at 
Vincennes in 1422. Juvenal des Usines tells us that the body was boiled, so as to be 
converted into a perfect skeleton, for better transportation into England. The bones were 


first taken to Notre Dame, where a superb funeral service was said over them. Just above 
the body they placed a figure made of boiled leather, representing the king's person "as well 
as might be desired," clad in purple, with the imperial diadem on its brow and the sceptre 
in its hand. Thus adorned, the coffin and the effigy were placed on a gorgeous chariot, 
covered with a " coverture " of red velvet beaten with gold. In this manner, followed by 
the King of Scots, as chief mourner, and by all the princes, lords, and knights of his house, 
was the body of the illustrious hero of Agincourt conveyed from town to town, until it 
reached Calais and was embarked for England, where it was finally laid at rest in Westminster 
Abbey, under a new monument erected by Queen Katherine de Valois, who eventually 
caused a silver-plated effigy of her husband, with a solid silver gilt head, to be placed on the 
tomb, which was unfortunately destroyed at the time of the Reformation. 

The funeral of Eleanor of Castile, the adored consort of Edward I., was exceptionally 
sumptuous. This amiable Queen died at Hardbey, near Grantham, of "autumnal" fever, on 
November 29, 1290. The pressing affairs of Scotland were obliterated for the time from the 
mind of the great Edward, and he refused to attend to any state duty until his " loved ladye " 
was laid at rest at Westminster. The procession, followed by the King in the bitterest woe, 
took thirteen days to reach London from Grantham. At the end of every stage the royal bier 
surrounded by its attendants, rested in some central place of a great town, till the neighbouring 
ecclesiastics came to meet it in solemn procession, and to place it upon the high altar of the 
principal church. A cross was erected in memory of King Edward's clrtre reine at every 
one of these resting-places. Thirteen of these monuments once existed ; now only two of the 
originals remain, the crosses of Northampton and Waltham. The fac-simile at Charing 
Cross, opposite the Railway Station, though excellent, is of course modern, and does not occupy 
the right spot, which was, it is said on good authority, exactly where now stands the statue of 
Charles II. The Chronicler of Dunstable thus describes the ceremony of marking the sites for 
these crosses : " Her body passed through Dunstable and rested one night, and two precious 
cloths were given us, and eighty pounds of wax. And when the body of Queen Eleanor 
was departing from Dunstable, her bier rested in the centre of the market-place till the King's 
Chancellor and the great men there present had marked a fitting place where they might 
afterwards erect, at the royal expense, a cross of wonderful size, our prior being present, 
who sprinkled the spot with holy water." 

Perhaps the most magnificent funeral which took place before the Reformation was 
that of Elizabeth of York, consort of Henry VII. It was one of the last great Roman 
Catholic state funerals in England, for the obsequies of Henry VII. himself were conducted on 
a much diminished scale; and those of the wives of Henry VIII., and of that monster 
himself, were not accompanied by so much pomp, owing to the religious troubles of the time. 
Queen Elizabeth of York was the last English Queen who died at the Tower. Her obsequies 



took place in the chapel of St. Mary, which was, until quite lately, the Rolls Office, and which 
was magnificently hung on this occasion with black brocade. The windows were veiled with 
crape. The Queen's body rested on a bed of state, in a chapelle ardente, surrounded by over 
5,000 wax candles. High Mass was said during the earlier hours of the morning, and in the 
afternoon solemn Vespers were sung. When the Queen's body was nailed up in its coffin, 
the usual waxen effigy took its place. The procession left St. Mary's, in the Tower, at noon, 
for Westminster Abbey, and was of exceeding length. At every hundred yards it was met by 
the religious corporations, fraternities, and guilds, and by the children attached to sundry 

FIG. 25. Gentleman in Mourning, time of Henry VII. The costume is entirely black, edged 
with black fur. From a contemporary MS. 

monastic and charitable foundations, some of them dressed as angels, with golden wings, and 
all of the.ri singing psalms. There were over 8,000 wax tapers burning between Mark Lane 
and the Temple ; and the fronts of all the churches were hung with black, and brilliantly 
illuminated. The people in the streets held candles, and repeated prayers. At Temple Bar 
the body was received by the municipal officers of the City of Westminster, who accompanied 
it to the Abbey, where the Queen's effigy was exhibited with great state for two days, and on 
the morning of the third she was buried in what is since known as "Henry VII. 's Chapel." 

4 o 


The funeral of the unfortunate Katharine of Arragon took place, as all the world knows, 
in Peterborough Cathedral. 

In a recently discovered contemporary Spanish chronicle, translated by Mr. Martin Sharpe 
Hume, it seems that the servants of the " Blessed lady " (Queen Katherine) were all dressed in 
mourning, and the funeral was a fairly handsome one. More than three hundred masses were 
said during the day at Peterborough, for all the clergy for fifteen miles round came to the 
various services. Chapuy, the Spanish Ambassador to the Court of King Henry, in a 

FlG. 26. Richard 1. and his Queen attetiding the Requiem Mass for the fallen Crusaders, in the 

Cathedral of Rhodes. 

letter to his master Charles V., however, informs him that the funeral of Queen Katherine was 
mean and shabby in the extreme, quite unworthy even of an ordinary baroness. Jane Seymour 
fared better after death than any other of the wives of Henry VIII., and was buried with con- 
siderable solemnity at Windsor. The first royal Protestant state funeral mentioned as taking 
place in this country was that of Queen Catherine Parr, at Sudeley Castle. The ceremony was 
of the simplest description : psalms were sung over the remains, and a brief discourse 
pronounced. The Lady Jane Grey was chief mourner. 


FIG. 27. Lying in State of Queen Elizabeth of York, Consort of Henry I 'II. 


The author of the Spanish chronicle just mentioned, who evidently witnessed the 
interment of Henry VIII., assures us that the waxen effigy of the King was carried in a chair 
to Windsor, and was an astonishing likeness. It was followed by 1,000 gentlemen on horseback, 
the horses all being draped with black velvet. Many masses were said in St. George's Chapel 
for the rest of the King's soul, but the obsequies do not appear to have been exceptionally 

The funeral of Anne of Cleves, who had become a Catholic, took place at Westminster, 
under the special supervision of Queen Mary. It was a plain but handsome function, 
conducted with good taste, but without ostentation. The unpopular Mary Tudor's funeral 

FIG. 28. Tomb of Henry V. 

was the last Catholic state ceremony of the kind which ever took place in Westminster 
Abbey. Queen Elizabeth attended her sister's funeral, which was a simple one, and 
listened attentively to the funeral oration preached by Dr. White Bailey, of Winchester, 
who, when he spoke of poor Mary's sufferings, wept bitterly, and exclaimed, looking 
significantly at her successor, Melior est cams I'ivis leone mortuo. Elizabeth understood her 
Latin too well not to be fired with indignation at this elegant simile, which declared a " living 
dog better than a dead lion," and ordered the bishop to be arrested as he descended from 
the pulpit, and a violent scene occurred between him and the Queen, which, Her Majesty 
prudently permitted him to have the best of, by withdrawing with her train from the Abbey. 



FIG. 29. Departure of the body of Queen Elizabeth from Greenwich Palace, for Interment at Westminster. 

UEEN ELIZABETH died in the seventieth year of her age and 
the forty-fourth of her reign, March 24, on the eve of the 
festival of the Annunciation, called Lady Day. Among the 
complimentary epitaphs which were composed for her, and 
hung up in many churches, was one ending with the following 
couplet : 

" She is, she was what can there be more said ? 
On earth the first, in heaven the second maid." 

It is stated by Lady Southwell that directions were 
left by Elizabeth that she should not be embalmed ; but Cecil gave orders to her surgeon to 
open her. "Now, the Queen's body being cered up," continues Lady Southwell, "was brought 
by water to Whitehall, where, being watched every night by six several ladies, myself that 
night watching as one of them, and being all in our places about the corpse, which was fast 
nailed up in a board coffin, with leaves of lead covered with velvet, her body burst with such 
a crack that it splitted the wood, lead, and cere-cloth ; whereupon, the next day she was fain 
to be new trimmed up." 



Elizabeth was most royally interred in Westminster Abbey on the 28th of April, 1603. 
We subjoin a rare contemporary engraving of the funeral procession, by which it will be seen 
with what pomp and ceremony the remains of the great Queen were escorted to their last 
resting-place. " The city of Westminster," says Stow, " was surcharged with multitudes of all 
sorts of people, in the streets, houses, windows, leads, and gutters, who came to see the 
obsequy. And when they beheld her statue, or effigy, lying on the coffin, set forth in royal 
robes, having a crown upon the head thereof, and a ball and a sceptre in either hand, there 
was such a general sighing, groaning, and weeping as the like hath not been seen or known 
in the memory .of man ; neither doth any history mention any people, time, or state to make 
such lamentation for the death of a sovereign." The funereal effigy which, by its close resemblance 

Kiu. 30. A memento mart, or death's-head timepiece, in solid silver, lately exhibited at the Stuart 
Exhibition. r8SS-y. On the forehead is a figure of Death standing between a palace ami 
a cottage: around is this legend from Horace, "Falliila mors equo pulsat pede 
pauperum tabernas Regum que turres." On the hind part of the skull is a figure 
of Time, with another legend from Ovid : " Tempus Kdax Kerum tuque Mirdiusa 
Vetustas." The upper pait of the skull bears representations of Adam and Eve aii.i 
the Crucifixion ; bet-ween these scenes is open work to let out the sound when the watch 
strikes the hour upon a silver bell which fills the Aot/oiu of the skull and receives the 
worts within it when the watch is shut. On the edge is inscribed : " Sicut meis sic 
et omnibus idem." It bears the maker's name, Moysart a Blots. Belonged formerly 
to Alary Queen of Scots, and by her was given to the Seton family, and inherited thence 
by its actual (nuner. Sir T. W. Dick 

to their deceased sovereign, moved the sensibility ol the loyal and excitable portion of the 
spectators at her obsequies in this powerful manner, was no other than the faded waxwork- 
effigy of Queen Elizabeth preserved in Westminster Abbey. 

Elizabeth was interred in the same grave with her sister and predecessor in regal office, 
.Mary Tudor. Her successor, James I., has left a lasting evidence of his good feeling and good 

FIG. 31. Funeral of Queen Elizabeth, sSth of April, 1603. Frum a very rare contemporary en^ravim;, reproduced expressly, and fur the first time, for this work, by M, Badoureau, of Paris. 
No. r represents the wax effigy of the Queen lying on her coffin ; gentlemen pensioners carrying the banners. The chariot is drawn by four horses. 2. Kings at Arms. 3. Noblemen. 
4. The Archbishop of Canterbury. 5. The French Ambassador and his train-bearer. 6. The great Standard of England, carried by the Earl of Pembroke. 7. The Master of the Horse. 
8. The Lady Marchioness of Northampton, grand mourner, and the ladies in attendance on the Queen. 9. Captain of the Guard. 10. Lord Clanricarde carrying the Standard of Ireland. 
n. Standard of Wales, borne by Viscount Bindon, followed by the Lord Mayor. 12. Gentlemen of the Chapels Royal ; children of the Chapels. 13. Trumpeters. 14. Standard of the Lion. 
15. Standard of the Greyhound. 16. The Queen's Horse. 17. Poor Women t<> tin. n mber of 266. 18. The Banner of Cornwall. The Aldermen, Recorders, Town Clerks, etc. 

4 6 


taste in the noble monument he erected to her memory in the Abbey, and she was the last 
sovereign of this country to whom a monument has been given. 

We have very minute details of how royal personages were buried in France, in a curious 
book published in the i/th Century, from a MS. of the time of Louis XI. In it we learn 
that King Louis XI. wore scarlet for mourning on the death of his father, Charles VII. Up 
to the time of Louis XIV. the Queens of France, if they became widowed, wore white ; and 

FlG. 32. French Lady of the idth Century in M'idmsfs Heeds. This costume is identical 
with that worn by Mary Stuart as widow oj the Dauphin, only her dress was 
perfectly white, From PlETRO VERCELLIO'S famous work on Costume, engraved 
expressly fur this publication. 

this is the reason that Mary Tudor was called " La Rcine Blanche," when she clandestinely 
married the Duke of Suffolk in the chapel of that most interesting place, the Maison Cluny, 
now a museum, which still retains its name of La Reine Blanche. The Oueen had been but a 
very short time the widow of Charles VIII., and still wore her weeds when she gave her hand 
to the lusty English duke. Mary Stuart wore white for her husband, Francis II. of France; and 
when she arrived in Scotland she still retained, for some months, her white robes, and was 
called the " White Uueen " in consequence. But this illustrious and ill-fated princess throughout 


the greater part of her life wore black, and we have many minute details of her dresses, 
especially of the stately one she wore on the day of her execution, which was of brocaded 
satin, having a train of great length ; a ruffle of white lawn, edged with lace ; and a veil (which 
still exists) made of drawn threads, in a check-board pattern, and edged with Flemish lace. 
From her girdle was suspended a rosary, and in her hand she carried a crucifix. Her under 
garments, we know, were scarlet ; for, when she removed her dress upon the scaffold, the 
bodice at least, all contemporaries agree, was flame-coloured. Queen Elizabeth ordered her 
Court to go into mourning for the Queen of Scots, whose sad and " accidental " death she 
hypocritically decreed should be regarded as a very great misfortune. 

King James ordered the deepest mourning to be worn for his royal mother a requisition 
with which all his nobles complied, except the Earl of Sinclair, who appeared before him clad 
in steel. The King frowned, and inquired if he had not seen the order for a general 
mourning. " Yes," was the noble's reply ; " this is the proper mourning for the Queen of 
Scotland." James, however, whatever his inclinations might have been, was unprovided with 
the means of levying war against England, and his Ministers were entirely under the control 
of the English faction, and, after maintaining a resentful attitude for a time, he was at length 
obliged to accept Elizabeth's " explanation " of the murder of his mother. 

Early in March, 1587, the obsequies of Mary Stuart were solemnised by the King, 
nobles, and people of France, with great pomp, in the Cathedral of Notre Dame at Paris, and 
a passionately eloquent funeral oration was pronounced by Renauld de Beaulue, Archbishop 
of Bourges and Patriarch of Acquitaine, which brought tears to the eyes of every person in 
the congregation. 

After Mary's body had remained for nearly six months apparently forgotten by her 
murderers, Elizabeth considered it necessary, in consequence of the urgent and pathetic 
memorials of the afflicted servants of the unfortunate princess and the remonstrances of her 
royal son, to accord it not only Christian burial, but a pompous state funeral. This she 
appointed to take place in Peterborough Cathedral, and, three or four days before, sent some 
officials to make the necessary arrangements for the solemnity. The place selected for the 
interment was at the entrance of the choir from the south aisle. The grave was dug by the 
centogenarian sexton, Scarlett. Heralds and officers of the wardrobe were also sent t6 
Fotheringay Castle to make arrangements for the removal of the royal body, and to prepare 
mourning for all the servants of the murdered Queen. Moreover, as their head-dresses were 
not of the approved fashion for mourning in England, Elizabeth sent a milliner on purpose to 
make others, in the orthodox mode, proper to be worn at the funeral, and to be theirs 
afterwards. However, these true mourners coldly, but firmly declined availing themselves of 
these gifts and attentions, declaring " that they would wear their own dresses, such as they had 
got made for mourning immediately after the loss of their beloved Queen and mistress." 


On the evening of Sunday, July 30, Garter King of Arms arrived at Fotheringay Castle, 
with five other heralds and forty horsemen, to receive and escort the remains of Mary Stuart to 
Peterborough Cathedral, having brought with them a royal funereal car for that purpose, covered 
with black velvet, elaborately set forth with escutcheons of the arms of Scotland, and little 
pennons round about it, drawn by four richly-caparisoned horses. The body, being enclosed in 
lead within an outer coffin, was reverently put into the car, and the heralds, having assumed 
their coats and tabards, brought the same forth from the castle, bare-headed, by torchlight, 
about ten o'clock at night, followed by all her sorrowful servants. 

The procession arrived at Peterborough between one and two o'clock on the morning of 
July 30, and was received ceremoniously at the minster door by the bishop and clergy, 
where, in the presence of her faithful Scotch attendants, she was laid in the vault prepared for 
her, without singing or saying the grand ceremonial being appointed for August i. The 
reason for depositing the royal body previously in the vault was, because it was too heavy to 
be carried in the procession, weighing, with the lead and outer coffin, nearly nine hundred- 
weight. On Monday, the 3ist, arrived the ceremonial mourners from London, escorting the 
Countess of Bedford, who was to represent Elizabeth in the mockery of acting as chief mourner 
to the poor victim. At eight in the morning of Tuesday the solemnities commenced. First, 
the Countess of Bedford was escorted in state to the great hall of the bishop's palace, where 
a representation of Mary's corpse lay on a royal bier. Thence she was followed into the 
church by a great number of English peers, peeresses, knights, ladies, and gentlemen, in 
mourning. All Mary's servants, both male and female, walked in the procession, according to 
their degree among them her almoner, De Preau, bearing a large silver cross. The 
representation of the corpse being received without the Cathedral gate by the bishops and 
clergy, it was borne in solemn procession and set down within the royal hearse, which had 
been prepared for it, over the grave where the remains of the Queen had been silently 
deposited by torchlight on the Monday morning. The hearse was 20 feet square, and 27 feet 
high. On the coffin which was covered with a pall of black velvet lay a crown of gold, 
set with stones, resting on a purple velvet cushion, fringed and tasselled with gold. 

All the Scotch Queen's train both men and women, with the exception of Sir Andrew 
Melville and the two Mowbrays, who were members of the Reformed Church departed, 
and would not tarry for sermon or prayers. This greatly offended the English portion 
of the congregation, who called after them and wanted to force them to remain. After 
the prayer and a funeral service, every officer broke his staff over his head and threw the 
pieces into the vault upon the coffin. The procession returned in the same order to the 
bishop's palace, where Mary's servants were invited to partake of the banquet which was 
provided for all the mourners ; but they declined doing so, saying that " their hearts were 
too sad to feast." 



But let us turn aside from the pageants of kings and queens, and direct our attention 
for a few moments towards Stratford-upon-Avon, where, on April 23, 1616, the greatest of all 
Englishmen breathed his last. A vague tradition tells us that, being in the company of 
Drayton and Ben Johnson, Shakespeare partook too freely of the cup, and expired soon 
after. This may be a calumny ; and, if it were not, it would not diminish our gratitude and 
reverence for the highest intellect our race has produced. It, however, leads us to think and 

FIG. 33. Shakespeare's Tomb before the present restoration. 

hope, that at the modest funeral of the "great Bard of Avon" the illustrious Ben Johnson as 
well as Drayton were present with his sorrowing relatives and fellow-citizens. His remains rest 
under the famous slab which bears the inscription due, it is said, to his own immortal pen : 

Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbeare 

To digg T E dust encloased here : 

Blessed be T E Man spares T E S Stones, 


And curst be He moves ray bones." 


If his contemporaries have forgotten to give us details of that memorable funeral, and if 
for nearly two centuries his modest grave was almost neglected, ample reparation has been 
made to his memory in this enlightened age, and Shakespeare's tomb has become a 
shrine visited by countless pilgrims from all parts of the earth ; and a glorious monument, 
more beautiful than has been generally admitted, stands not far from the church, erected to 
Shakespeare only last year by a nobleman, Lord Ronald Gower, whose taste and culture would 
have done honour to the epoch which produced not Shakespeare alone, but Sydney and 

FIG. 34. Stratford-m-Avon Church. 

If we could discover all the particulars respecting Shakespeare's burial, we should possibly 
find that, being a "gentleman," he was wrapped in his coffin in "wool," for which privilege 
his survivors paid a tax of ics. This curious habit, which we derived from our Norman 
ancestors, endured until the first few years of this century. By "wool" we should read flannel. 
Almost all the old parish registers in the country make a point of informing us that " the 
body" was buried in wool, and the "usual tax paid." The Normans, and their descendants in 
Normandy to this day, had some curious superstitions connected with " flannel," which even the 
industrious bibliophile Jacob has failed to discover. This custom they introduced into England, 
and it lasted for hundreds of years. I believe the coffin was also frequently filled up with fine 


sheep's wool. Another curious custom, which is now obsolete, was to put cloves, spikenard, 
fine herbs, and twigs of various aromatic shrubs into the coffin, in memory of the embalming 
of our Lord. Young girls and unmarried women were buried in white, and had their coffins 
covered with white flowers. All the people who accompanied the funeral wore white scarves, 
and before the Reformation, white dresses, and the way was strewn with box leaves, grass, and 
flowers. The porch of the deceased's house was decked with flowers and garlands, and 
especially with dog-roses and daisies. 

Fu;. 35. Sea/ oj an imaginary Bull of Pope Lucifer. From the 
Koi Modus, a. MS. of the 1 5th Century, Royal Library, 
Brussels. The inscription is evidently cabalistic and 


Flu. 36. The Funeral of Juliet (" Romeo and Juliet"). This charming engraving 
from KNIGHT'S splendid edition of Shakespeare gives a very fair idea 
of a grand funeral procession in the i6th Century. 

HE funeral ceremonies ol the French kings and princes of the blood during 
the Middle Ages and the period of the Renaissance, were, as may well be 
imagined, exceedingly magnificent. As already related, the death criers 
announced the decease of the sovereign in the usual manner, shouting out, 
" Oyes ! bonnes gens de Paris listen, good people of Paris : the most high 
and mighty, excellent and powerful King, our sovereign Master, by the grace of God King of 
France, the most Christian of Princes, most clement and pious, died last night. Pray for the 
repose of his soul." 

The first part of the ceremony took place at Notre Dame, where what is known as the 
lying-in-state was conducted with appropriate splendour. The procession, after a solemn mass, 
formed on the Pavis, or square, round the Cathedral, and began to move slowly over the 
bridge and through the Marais to St. Denis, some miles distant from Paris. There was a 
halt, however, at the convent of St. Lazaire (now covered by the railway station), and the 
gentlemen in attendance mounted their horses. Before the Revolution of '93, fifteen beautiful 
wayside crosses, or montjoies, as they were called, stood on the roadside between the Porte St. 
Denis and the Abbey. At each of these prayers were said and the coffin rested. Sometimes, 
as in the case of Charles VIII., the coffin and its waxen effigy were carried on the shoulders 


of a number of noblemen ; but usually, since their feet were hidden by heavy black velvet 
draperies, very common men were charged with the " honourable burden." After the first half 
of the 1 6th Century, the royal body was conducted to the grave in a chariot drawn sometimes 
by as many as four-and-twenty black horses. If I err not, the last King of France whose 
coffin was carried by men was Francis I., whose gentlemen of the bedchamber performed 
this office, having each a halter round his neck, and a cord or rope. 

At St. Denis the ceremonies were very imposing. High Mass of Requiem being over, the 
body was removed from the catafalque and lowered into the vaults under the altar. The Grand 
Almoner of France recited the De profundis, all kneeling. Suddenly a voice, that of the 
Herald-at-Arms, was heard, crying out from the vault below, " Kings-at-Arms, come do your 
duty." The grand officers were now summoned by name, thus : " Monsieur le due de Bourbon, 
bring your staff of command over the hundred Archers of the Guard, and break it and 
throw it into the grave." " Monsieur le comte de Lorges, bring your staff of office as 
commander of the Scotch Guard, and break it and throw it into the grave," and so forth, 
until some fifty of the grand dignitaries of the Court had in turn performed this lengthy 
ceremony. The last time it occurred was in 1824, on the occasion of the funeral of Louis 
XVIII., when each detail of the ancient ceremonial was punctually followed. Every staff of 
office was broken and thrown into the King's grave, except the banner of France, which was 
merely inclined three times to the very edge of the crypt. 

At the conclusion of this rather tedious ceremony, everybody knelt down, and the herald 
shouted, "The King is dead; pray for his soul." A moment of silence ensued, which was 
eventually broken by a blast of trumpets. Then the organ played a lively strain, and the 
Herald proclaimed, " Le roi est mart, vive le roi long live the King ! " The banners waved, 
the cannon boomed, the bells pealed forth joyously, and the procession reformed, whilst the 
officiating clergy sang the Te Deum. As almost all the Kings and Queens of France, with not 
more than half a dozen exceptions, trom the time of Clovis to that 01 Louis XVIII., were 
buried at St. Denis, the funeral rites were rarely if ever altered. But with us, although so many 
of our most illustrious princes are interred at Westminster, still not a few were buried at 
St. Paul's; many at Blackfriars and at Greyfriars, two glorious churches destroyed in the i/th 
Century, at Windsor, and in various Cathedrals ; so that our royal funereal ceremonies were not 
always conducted with such punctual etiquette as were those of our neighbours. 


JHE minute details of the funeral of Mary Stuart, at Westminster Abbey, prove 
that it was conducted on the same scale and with the same ceremonies 
as the one which preceded it by many years at Peterborough. King 
James, her son, was present, and shortly afterwards the sumptuous monument 
which we still admire marked the place where her mutilated remains, 
translated from Peterborough, found a permanent place of rest. 

The great changes in religion which occurred at the time of the Reformation, although 
they took much longer to permeate the habits and customs of the people than is usually 
imagined, nevertheless were so radical, that of the ancient ritual little soon remained, and the 
beautiful funeral service of the Church of England, which is so full of faith and hope, and 
mainly selected from passages of Holy Scripture adapted to the requirements of a religion 
which abolished belief in an intermediary state, and therefore in the necessity of prayers for 
the dead, was introduced, and little by little the pompous ceremonies of the Roman Church 
were forgotten. The lying-in-state of the corpse, for instance, which up to the close of the 
reign of Mary was general, even with poor people, was now only in use among those of 
the very highest rank. The increase in the use of carriages, too, and of course the abolition 
of the monastic orders and brotherhoods, diminished the splendour of the street processions 
which used to follow the bier. Still, much that was quaint remained in fashion, and it is 
only, as already said, a few years since that ladies ceased wearing a scarf and hood of black 
silk, and gentlemen "weepers" on their hats and arms, which were black or white according 
to the sex of the deceased. In Norfolk, until the end of the first quarter of the present 
century, it was the custom to give the mourners at a funeral black gloves, scarves, and 
bunches of herbs. Indeed, it is but a short time since a very old lady told me that so rich, 
broad, and beautiful was the silk of the scarves presented to each lady at a funeral, when she 
was a girl, that ladies were wont to keep the pieces by them until they were sufficient in 
number to form a dress. A bill of the funeral expenses of a very rich gentleman who died 
at Brandon Hall, in Norfolk, early in this century, Mr. Denn, of Norwich, and who left 
over half a million of money, enables us to form some idea ol the expense to which our 
grandfathers of the upper class were put in order to be buried with what they considered 
proper respect. It would seem that in those days the hearse and funeral carriages had to be 
hired from London, and they took three days to perform the journey from the metropolis a 
distance of about three hours by rail. No fewer than 40 persons figure as accompanying 
these vehicles, and as they had to be put up at inns along the road, going both to and from 
London to Brandon Hall, their expenses were 180. The hire of horses and carriages was 



106, and what with the distribution of loaves to the poor at the grave, and the expense of 
bringing relatives from far parts of the country, and of providing them with silk scarves, 
gloves, etc., and the housing and entertaining of them all, the worthy Mr. Denn's funeral cost 
his survivors not less than 775. 

In Picard, there is a very beautiful engraving by Schley, representing a funeral procession 
in 1735, entering the church of St. Paul's, Covent Garden. It occurs by night, and a number 
of pages in black velvet walk in it, carrying lighted three-branched silver candlesticks. It 
seems that until 1775 women in England only attended the funerals of their own sex, and 

FIG. 37. Interment in a Church in the first qtiarter of the iSth Century. From PlCARD'S 
great work on the Religions of all Nations. 

that men in the same manner only followed men to the grave. Possibly as a disinfectant 
against the plague, at all English funerals a branch of rosemary was handed to all who 
attended, which they threw into the open grave. This fashion endured, to the writer's 
knowledge, in Norfolk up to 1856. 

The French Revolution cannot be described as an unmitigated blessing far from it ; but 
it certainly did away with many superstitious practices, and shed a flood of light upon civilisa- 
tion. Before that event it was the universal custom throughout Europe to bury in churches, 
a practice which was most detrimental to health. By one of the earliest decrees passed by the 
Convention of Paris, 1794, intramural interments were abolished, although, to be sure, 


cemeteries already existed of considerable extent, possibly suggested by those which for ages 
the Mahometans have used in all the principal cities of Asia and Asiatic Europe. That ot 
P6re la Chaise, so called after the confessor of Madame de Maintenon, who founded it, is one 

FlG. 38. We Cemetery of Pi re la Chaise, Paris, 

of the earliest. With the counter-Reformation, as the movement is called in history, the 
ceremonial of the Roman Church became, on the Continent, even more elaborate than 
heretofore, and nothing can be imagined more theatrically splendid than, the church decorations 
on occasions of funerals of eminent personages. 





From the last half of the i6th Century down to the Revolution of 1789, possibly the most 
extraordinary funeral recorded in history was that of the Emperor Charles V. It was 
celebrated with almost identical pomp simultaneously, at Madrid and at Brussels. The 
procession at Brussels took six hours to pass any one point, and it is estimated that 80,000 
persons walked in it, the participants being supplied from every city of Belgium and Holland. 
In this extraordinary function figured cars on floats, representing certain striking events in 
the life of the Emperor, and one of these we reproduce, since it will best afford an idea of 
the supreme magnificence of the spectacle. It represents a ship, and is intended to illustrate 

FIG. 40. Float carried in the Funeral Procession of Charles V. at Brussels, December 29, 1558, 
and intended to illustrate his maritime greatness. The vessel was the size of a real 
ship, and the persons who appear upon its deck were Iri'ing. From the " Magnificent 
and Sumptuous Funeral of the Very Great Emperor Charles V." (Antwerp, 
published by Plantin, 1559.) Collection of M. RUGGIERI, Paris. 

the maritime progress made in the reign of this enterprising monarch. The float on which 
this clever model of a vessel of the period was arranged was dragged through the streets by 
24 black horses, covered with black velvet, and followed by representatives of the navies both 
of Belgium and Spain, and by some 300 lads dressed as sailors of all nations. 

We also reproduce a little sketch from the funeral procession of Philip II., son of 
Charles V., which gives us an excellent idea of the costumes worn on such an important 
occasion. The large full-page engraving represents a portion of the funeral procession which 
took place at Brussels, of the Archduke Albert VJI. of Austria, surnamed "the Pious." It 



was almost as sumptuous as that of Charles V., and, fortunately a complete record of it has 
been preserved by Francovoart, who published a book in the following year, containing no 
less than 49 plates illustrating this pageantic procession, which was of enormous length, and 
must have cost a great sum of money. The great engraver Cochin has left us one of his most 
beautiful plates, representing the interior of the Church of Notre Dame as arranged for the 
funeral of the Infanta Theresa of Spain, Dauphiness of France, in 1/46. It gives us rather 
the idea of a scene in a court ball-room than of a grave ceremony. Literally, thousands of 
lights blazed in all directions, and there was nothing of a sombre character present, excepting 
the catafalque, which was of black velvet, and in a certain sense produced an admirable 
effect by showing off to still greater advantage the illuminations. The funeral of Louis XIV., 
was fabulously gorgeous, and so complete an apotheosis of that vain monarch, it brought about 


FIG. 41. Costumes worn by King Philip II. of Spain and his attendants in the funeral 
procession of his father, Charles V. The group consists of the King; the Herald of Spain, 
of the Order of the Golden Fleece, who walks in front; of the Duke of Brunswick, the 
Duke of Areas, Don Ruy Gomez, Count of Milito, and finally the Duke Emmanuel 
Philibert of Savoy. Mark that the hood was only worn by the heirs of the deceased. 
From the "Sumptuous Funeral of Charles V. at Brussels." (Antwerp, 1559.) 
Collection of M. RUGGIERI, Paris. 

a sort of reaction, and made most persons observe that it was of little use praying for the soul 
of one who evidently must already be in glory. In order to put some bounds to these 
extravagant services, many people of a devout character have in all ages prayed in their wills 
that they should be carried to the grave in the simplest manner, sometimes in the habit of 
a Franciscan, or mendicant friar, and that only a few pounds should be expended upon their 

The Italians, and especially the Venetians, spent enormous sums upon their funeral 
services, which were exceedingly picturesque ; but as the members of the brotherhoods who 



F(G. 42. Funeral of the Infanta Theresa of Spain, Dauphiness of France, at Notre Dame, 1746. 
From the original engraving of COCHIN. 



walked in the procession wore pointed hoods and masks, so that, by the glare of the torches, 
only their eyes could be seen glittering, and as it was the custom, also, for the funeral to take 
place at night, the body being exposed upon an open bier, in full dress, the scene was 
sufficiently weird to attract the attention of travellers, perhaps more so than anything else which 
they saw in the land par excellence of pageant. Horace Mann, in one of his letters, thus 
amusingly describes the funeral of the daughter of Cosmo III., Grand Duke of Tuscany : 

" There was nothing extraordinary in the funeral last night. All the magnificence 
consisted in a prodigious number of torches carried by the different orders of priests, the 
expense of which in lights, they say, amounted to 12,000 crowns. The body was in a sort of 
a coach quite open, with a canopy over her head ; two other coaches followed with her ladies. 
As soon as the procession was passed .by Madame Suares's, I went a back way to St. Laurence, 
where I had been invited by the master of the ceremonies ; here was nothing very particular 
but my being placed next to Lady Walpole, who is so angry with me that she would not 
even give me the opportunity of making her a bow, which for the future, since I see it will 
be disagreeable to her, I will never offer to do again." 


OTHING could be imagined more picturesque than a Venetian funeral in 
bygone days. The state gondola of the family, containing the body, and also 
the attendant priests and friars, was covered with black velvet, and blazed 
with candelabra full of lighted candles ; and from the stern of the boat hung 
an immense train of black velvet, which was permitted to touch the water, 
but prevented from sinking underneath it by golden tassels, which were held by members of 
the family in the gondolas which followed close behind. All those persons who took part 

FIG. 43. Tomli of Hamlet. 

in the funeral of course carried lights in their hands. If the individual happened to belong 
to one of the numerous confraternities, or sctiole, which existed in Venice up to the end of the 
last century, a grand musical mass was celebrated in the chapel belonging to the order; and 
on these occasions some of the finest music ever composed was heard for the first time, such, 
for instance, as Paesiello's Requiem, an infinitely beautiful one by Marcello, and the majestic 
mass for four voices, by Lotti. 

6 4 


FIG. 44 Death devouring Man and Beast. A singular, illuminated document on parchment, oj 
the 12th Century, measuring over fifty feet by one yard u'idc. The figure above is 
intended to represent the letter T. From the Mortuary Roll of the Abbey of Saving}-, 
Avranches, France. The original is preserved among the French National Archives. 

HE funeral of a Pope is attended by many curious ceremonies, not the least 
remarkable of which is, that so soon as His Holiness' death is thoroughly 
assured, the eldest Cardinal goes up to the body, and strikes it three times 
gently on the breast, saying in Latin, as he does so, " The Holy Father has 
passed away." The body is then lowered into the Church of St. Peter's, 
where it is exhibited as was the case when Pope Pius IX. died in '78 for three days to the 
veneration of the faithful, after which it is conveyed in great state to the church which the 
Pope has selected for his burial-place. As it passed along the streets of Rome in the good 
old times, the members of the nobility assembled at the entrance of their houses, each 


carrying a lighted taper in his hand, and answering back the prayers of the friars and clergy 
in the procession. It will be remembered that it was this sort of spontaneous illumination 
which so offended a rabble of freethinkers, on the occasion of the funeral of the late- 
Pope, that they stoned the coffin, and created a riot of a most disgraceful character. After 

FIG. 45. Lying-in-Slate oj I 3 ope fins IX. 

the Pope is buried, it is usual for his successor or his family to build a stately monument 
over his remains, and this custom accounts for the amazing number of fine Papal monuments 
in the Roman basilicas and churches. 

At a time when everybody is talking about the Stuart dynasty, owing to the great success 


of the recent exhibition of their relics (1888-9), t' 10 following curious account of the interment 
of the Old Pretender will prove of interest: 

"On the 6th of January, 1756, the body of his 'Britannic Majesty' was conveyed in great 
state to the said Church of the Twelve Apostles," says a correspondent from Rome of that 
date, " preceded by four servants carrying torches, two detachments of soldiers ; and by the 
side of the bier walked twenty-four grooms of the stable with wax candles ; the body of the 
deceased was dressed royally, and borne by nobles of his household, with an ivory sceptre at 
its side, and the Orders of SS. George and Andrew on the breast. 

" On the 7th, the first funeral service took place, in the Church of the Twelve Apostles. 
The facade of the church was hung with black cloth, lace, and golden fringe, in the centre of 
which was a medallion, supported by skeletons with cypress branches in their hands, and 

bearing the following inscription : 

'Clemens XIII. Pont. Max. 

Jacobo III. 

M. Britannia:, Francise, et Hibernia; Kegi. 

Catholics fidei Defensori, 

Omnium urbis ordinum 

Frequentia funere honestato. 

Suprema pietatis officia 

Solemn! ritu Persolvit.' 

" On entering the church, another great inscription to the same purport was to be seen ; 
the building inside was draped in the deepest black, and on the bier, covered with cloth of 
gold, lay the corpse, before which was written in large letters : 

' Jacobus III. Magnae Britannue Rex. 

" On either side stood four silver skeletons on pedestals, draped in black cloth, and holding 
large branch candlesticks, each with three lights. At either corner stood a golden perfume 
box, decorated with death's-heads, leaves and festoons of cypress. The steps to the bier were 
painted in imitation marble, and had pictures upon them representing the virtues of the 
deceased. Over the whole was a canopy ornamented with crowns, banners, death's-heads, 
gilded lilies, etc. ; and behind, a great cloth of peacock colour with golden embroidery, and 
ermine upon it, hung down to the ground. Over each of the heavily draped arches down the 
nave of the church were medallions with death's-head supporters, and crowns above them, 
representing the various British orders and the three kingdoms of England, Ireland, and 
Scotland ; and on the pilasters were other medallions, supported by cherubs, expressing virtues 
attributed to the deceased, each with an inscription, of which the following is an instance : 

' Rex Jacobus III. vere dignus imperio, quia natus ad imperandum : dignus quia ipso regnante 
virtutes imperassent : dignissimus quia sibi imperavit.' 

"On the top of the bier, in the nave, lay the body, dressed in royal garb of gold brocade, 
with a mantle of crimson velvet, lined and edged with ermine, a crown on his head, a sceptre 


in his right hand, an orb in his left. The two Orders of SS. George and Andrew were 
fastened to his breast. 

"Pope Clement regretted his inability to attend the funeral, owing to the coldness of the 
morning, but he sent twenty-two cardinals to sing mass, besides numerous church dignitaries. 

"After the celebration of the mass, Monsignor Orazio Matteo recited a funeral oration of 
great length, recapitulating the virtues of the deceased, and the incidents of the life of exile 
and privation that he had led. After which, the customary requiem for the soul of the 
departed was sung, and they then proceeded to convey his deceased Majesty's body to the 
Basilica of St. Peter. 

" The procession which accompanied it was one of those gorgeous spectacles in which the 
popes and their cardinals loved to indulge. Every citizen came to see it, and crowds poured 
in to the Eternal City from the neighbouring towns and villages, as they were wont to do for 
the festivals at Easter, of Corpus Domini. 

"All the orders and confraternities to be found in Rome went in front, carrying amongst 
them 500 torches. They marched in rows, four deep ; and after them came the pupils of the 
English, Scotch, and Irish College in Rome, in their surplices, and with more torches. 

" Then followed the bier, around which were the gaudy Swiss Papal Guards. The four 
corners of the pall were held up by four of the most distinguished members of the Stuart 

"Then came singers, porters carrying two large umbrellas, such as the Pope would have 
at his coronation, and all the servants of the royal household, in deep mourning, and on foot. 
After them followed the papal household ; and twelve mourning coaches closed the procession. 

" The body was placed in the chapel of the choir of St. Peter's, and after the absolution, 
which Monsignor Lascaris pronounced, it was put into a cypress-wood case, in presence of the 
major-domo of the Vatican, who made a formal consignment of it to the Chapter of St. Peter's, 
in the presence of the notary of the ' Sacred Apostolic Palace,' who witnessed the consignment, 
whilst the notary of the Chapter of St. Peter's gave him a formal receipt. 

"The second funeral was fixed for the following day, when everything was done to make 
the choir of St. Peter's look gorgeous. A large catafalque was raised in the midst, on the 
top of which, on a cushion of black velvet embroidered with gold, lay the royal crown and 
sceptre, under a canopy adorned with ermine; 250 candles burnt around, and the inscription 
over the catafalque ran as follows : 

'Memorise seternje Jacobi III., Magnae Britannire Francis: et liybcr. rcgis Farentis optimii 
Henricus Card. Dux Eboracensis moerens justa persolvit.' 

" Then the cardinals held service, thirteen of whom were then assembled ; after which, the 
Chapter of St. Peter's and the Vatican clergy, with all the Court of the defunct king who had 
assisted at the mass, accompanied the body to the subterranean vaults beneath St. Peter's, where 
the bier was laid aside until such times and seasons as a fitting memorial could be placed over it." 


MONG the Jews, according to Buxtorf (who published, in the i/th Century, 
perhaps the most valuable work upon the Jewish ceremonies which still 
existed in various parts of Europe in his time, many of which have been 
modified or have entirely disappeared since), it was the fashion when a person 
died, after having closed the eyes and mouth, to twist the thumb of the 
right hand inward, and to tie it with a string of the taled, or veil, which covered the face, and 
was invariably buried with the corpse. The reason for this doubling of the thumb was that, 
when it was thus turned inward, it represented the figure Schaddai, which is one of the names 
of God. Otherwise, the fingers were stretched out so as to show that the deceased had given 
up all the goods of this world. The body was most carefully washed, to indicate that the dead 
was purified by repentance. Buxtorf tells us that in Holland, with the old-fashioned Jews, it 
was the custom to break an egg into a glass of wine, and to wash the face therewith. The 
more devout persons were dressed in the same garments that they wore on the last feast of 
the Passover. When the body is placed in the coffin, it is the habit even now, among the 
Polish and Oriental Jews, for ten members of the family, or very old friends, to walk pro- 
cessionally round it, saying prayers for the repose of the soul. In olden times, for three days 
after the death, the family sat at home in a darkened room and received their friends, who 
were indeed Job's comforters ; for they sought to afflict them in every way by recalling the 
virtues of the dead person, and exaggerating the misery into which they were thrown by his 
or her departure. Seven days afterwards, they were employed in a less rigorous form of 
mourning, at the end of which the family again went to the synagogue and offered up prayers, 
after which they followed the customs of the country in which they lived, retaining their 
mourning only so long as accorded with the prevailing fashion of the day. 


FIG. 47. The Knight of Death on a White Horse. After ALBERT DURER. From afac-simile of 
the original engraving, dated 1513, by one of the Wiericx (1564). This famous 
engraving, which so perfectly characterises the weird genius of the Middle Ages, 
passing into the Renaissance, represents a knight armed, going to the wars, 
accompanied by terrible thoughts of Death and Sin, whose incarnations follow him 
on his dismal journey. 



NE of the saddest, and certainly the simplest of royal funerals, was that of 
King Charles I. After his lamentable execution, his body lay at Whitehall 
from January 28, 1649, to the following' February 7, when it was conveyed 
to Windsor, placed in the vault of St. George's Chapel, near the coffins of 
Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour. The day had been very snowy, and the 
snow rested thick on the coffin and on the cloaks and hats of the mourners. The remains 
were deposited without any service whatever, and left inscriptionless, save for the words 
"Charles Rex, 1649," the letters of which were cut out of a band of lead by the gentlemen 
present, with their penknives, and the lead fastened round the coffin. In this state it 
remained until the year 1813, when George IV. caused it to be more fittingly interred. 
In striking contrast were the obsequies of the unfortunate King's great rival and enemy, 
Cromwell, "who lay in glorious state" at Somerset House, all the ceremonial being copied 
from that of the interment of Philip II. of Spain. The rooms were hung with black cloth, 
and in the principal saloon was an effigy of the Protector, with a royal crown upon his head 
and a sceptre in his hand, stretched upon a bed of state erected over his coffin. Crowds 
of people of all ranks went daily during eight weeks to see it, the place being illuminated by 
hundreds of candles. The wax cast of the face of Cromwell after death is still preserved in 
the British Museum. His body, however, was carried away secretly, and at night, and buried 
privately at Westminster, for fear of trouble. Later, in 1660, the remains of the great Protector, 
and those of his friends Ireton and Bradshaw, were sacrilegiously taken from their graves, 
dragged with ignominy through the streets, and hanged at Tyburn, to the apparent satisfaction 
of Mrs. Pepys and her friend Lady Batten, and all and sundry in London, as is recorded in 
the "immortal diary." By the way, Mr. Pepys himself, who died in 1703, was buried with 
much state and circumstance in Crutched Friars Church, but at night, the service being said 
by Dr. Hickes, the author of the Thesaurus. 



ERHAPS the strangest funeral recorded in modern history was that of the 
translation of the remains of Voltaire, popularly known as his "apotheosis." 
The National Assembly in May, 1791, decreed that the bones of the poet 
should be brought from the Abbey of Scellieres, and carried in state to the 
Pantheon. In Voltaire's lifetime it was boasted that he had buried the 
priests and the Christian religion, but now the priests were going to bury him, having very 
little of Christian religion left amongst them. The day of the procession was fixed for July 
10; but the loth was a deluging, rainy day, and the ceremony was postponed to the next 
day, or till the weather should be fine. The next day was as wet, and the Assembly was 
about to renew the postponement, when about two o'clock it cleared up. The coffin was 
placed on a car of the classic form, and was borne first to the spot on which the Bastille had 
stood, where it was placed on a platform, being covered with myrtles, roses, and wild flowers, 
and bearing the following inscriptions: "If a man is born free, he ought to govern himself." 
" If a man has tyrants placed over him, he ought to dethrone them." Besides these, there 
were numerous other inscriptions in different parts of the area, including one on a huge block 
of stone : " Receive, O Voltaire ! on this spot, where despotism once held thee in chains, the 
honours thy country renders thee ! " 

From the Bastille to the Pantheon all Paris seemed to be following the procession, which 
consisted of soldiers, lawyers, doctors, municipal bodies, a crowd of poets, literary men, and 
artists carrying a gilded chest containing the seventy volumes of Voltaire's works ; men who 
had taken part in the demolition of the Bastille, bearing chains, fetters, and cuirasses found in 
the prison ; a bust of Voltaire, surrounded by those of Rousseau, Mirabeau, and Montaigne, borne 
by the actors from the different theatres, in ancient costume ; and lastly came the funeral car, 
now surmounted by a statue of the philosopher, which France was crowning with a wreath of 
immortelles. The immense procession halted at various places for the effigy to receive particular 
honours. At the opera houses the actors and actresses were waiting to present a laurel crown 
and to sing to Voltaire's glory ; at the house of M. Villette where was yet deposited the 
heart of the great man, previous to being sent to Fernay four tall poplars were planted, and 
adorned with wreaths and festoons of flowers, and on the front of the house was written in 
large letters: "His genius is everywhere, and his heart is here." Near this was raised a sort 
of amphitheatre, on which were seated a crowd of young girls in white dresses with blue 
sashes, crowned with roses, and holding wreaths in honour of the poet in their hands. The 
names of all Voltaire's works were written on the front of the Theatre Franfais. The next 
halt was made on the site of the Comedie Fran9aise, and a statue of the poet was there 



crowned by actors costumed as Tragedy and Comedy. Thence the procession wended its way 
to the Pantheon, where the mouldering remains of Voltaire were placed beside those of Descartes 
and Mirabeau. All Paris that evening was one festal scene ; illuminations blazing on the 
busts and figures of the patriot of equality. 

The obsequies in England of Lord Nelson, which took place on January 9, 1806, were 
extremely imposing. I transcribe from a contemporary and inedited private letter the 
following account of it : " I have just returned from such a sight as will never be seen in 
London again. I managed at an inconveniently early hour to get me down into the Strand, 
and so down Norfolk Street to a house overlooking the river. Every post of vantage 
wherever the procession could be seen was swarming with living beings, all wearing mourning, 

FIG. 48. Funeral Car of Nelson. From a contemporary engraving, reproduced expressly for this publication. 

the very beggars having a bit of crape on their arms. The third barge, which contained the 
body, was covered with black velvet and adorned with black feathers. In the centre was a 
viscount's coronet, and three bannerols were affixed to the outside of the barge. In the 
steerage were six lieutenants of the navy and six trumpets. Clarencieux, King-at-Arms, sat at 
the head of the coffin, bearing a viscount's coronet on a black velvet cushion. The Royal 
Standard was at the head of the barge, which was rowed by forty-six seamen from the 
' Victory.' The other barges in the cortege were rowed by Greenwich pensioners. The fourth 
barge contained Admiral Sir Peter Parker, the chief mourner, and other admirals, vice- 
admirals, and rear-admirals ; whilst the Lords of the Admiralty, the Lord Mayor of London, 
members of the various worshipful Companies, and other distinguished mourners occupied 

7 6 


the remaining barges, which were seventeen in number, and were flanked by row-boats, with 
river fencibles, harbour marines, etc., etc. All, of course, had their colours half-mast high. 
On the following morning, the gth, the land procession, which I also contrived to see, started 
from the Admiralty to pass through the streets of London to St. Paul's, between dense crowds 
all along the route. This procession was of great length, and included Greenwich pensioners, 
sailors of the ' Victory,' watermen, judges and other dignitaries of the law, many members of 


FIG. 49. Funeral Car oj Lord Nelson. From a contemporary engraving, reproduced expressly 

for this publication. 

the nobility, public officers, and officers of the army and navy ; whilst in it were carried 
conspicuously the great banner, gauntlets, helmet, sword, etc., of the deceased. The pall was 
supported by four admirals. Nearly 10,000 military were assembled on this occasion, and these 
consisted chiefly of the regiments that had fought in Kgypt, and participated with the deceased 
in delivering that country from the power of France. The car in which the body was conveyed 
was peculiarly magnificent. It was decorated with a carved resemblance of the head and stern 



of the 'Victory,' surrounded with escutcheons of the arms of the deceased, and adorned with 
appropriate mottoes and emblematical devices, under an elevated canopy, in the form of the 
upper part of a sarcophagus, with six sable plumes, and a viscount's coronet in the centre, 
supported by four columns, representing palm trees, entwined with wreaths of natural laurel 
and cypress. As it passed, all uncovered, and many wept. I heard a great deal said among 
the people about ' poor Emma ' (Emma, Lady Hamilton), and some wonder whether she will 
get a pension or not. On the whole, the processions were most imposing, and I am very 
glad I saw it all, although I am much fatigued at it, from standing about so much and 
pushing in the crowd, and faint from the difficulty of getting food, every eating-place being so 
full of people ; and surely, though a nation must mourn, equally certain is it that it must 
also eat." 

FIG. 50. An Old Market Cross, Roiun. 


FIG. 51. Funeral Procession of the Emperor Napoleon /., December 15, 1840. TTie Cortege 
descending the Champs Elysles. From a contemporary engraving. 

GUIS PHILLIPPE, who, by the way, had neglected no opportunity 
to render justice to the genius of Napoleon, obtained, in 1840, the 
permission of the British Government to remove his body from St. Helena ; 
and on December 15 it was solemnly interred in the gorgeous chapel 
designed by Visconti, at the Invalides. The Prince de Joinville had the 
honour of escorting the remains of the Emperor from the lonely island in the Indian Ocean 
to Paris. Words cannot paint the emotion of the inhabitants of the French capital, as the 


superb procession descended the long avenue of the Champs Elysees, or that of the privileged 
company which witnessed the striking scene in the chapel itself, as the Prince de Joinville 
formally consigned the body to the King, his father, saying, as he did so, " Sire, I deliver 
over into your charge the corpse of Napoleon." To which the King replied, " I receive it in 
the name of France," and then taking the sword of the victor of Austerlitz, he handed it to 
General Bertrand, who, in his turn, laid it on the coffin. Many years later, when another 
Napoleon reigned in France, a Lady who had not yet reached the mezzo cainin di nostra vita, 
stood silently, with bowed head, before the grave of the mighty enemy of the glorious empire 
over which she rules, and it was observed that there were tears in the eyes of Queen Victoria 
when she quietly left the chapel. 



FlG. 52. The Tomb of Napoleon I. at the Invalides, Paris. 


The earliest year of the last half of this century witnessed another funeral of much 
magnificence, that of the great Duke of Wellington. It was determined that a public funeral 
should mark the sense of the people's reverence for the memory of the illustrious deceased, 
and of their grief for his loss. The body was enclosed in a shell, and remained for a 
time at Walmer Castle, where the Iron Duke died. A guard of honour, composed of men 
of his own rifle regiment, did duty over it, and the castle flag was hoisted daily half-mast high. 
On the evening of the loth of November, 1852, the body was placed upon a hearse and 
conveyed, by torchlight, to the railway station, the batteries at Walmer and Deal Castles firing 
minute-guns, whilst Sandown Castle took up the melancholy salute as the train with its burden 
swept by. Arrived at London, the procession re-formed, and by torchlight marched through 
the silent streets, reaching Chelsea about three o'clock in the morning, when the coffin 
containing the body was carried into the hall of the Royal Military Hospital. Life Guardsmen, 
with arms reversed, lined the apartment, which was hung with black and lighted by waxen 
tapers. The coffin rested upon an elevated platform at the end of the hall, over which was 
suspended a cloud-like canopy or veil. The coffin itself was covered with red velvet ; and at 
the foot stood a table on which all the decorations of the deceased were laid out. Thither, 
day by day, in a constant stream, crowds of men, women, and children repaired, all dressed 
in deep mourning. The first of these visitors was the Queen, accompanied by her children ; 
but so deeply was she affected that she never got beyond the centre of the hall, where her 
feelings quite overcame her, and she was led, weeping bitterly, back to her carriage. 

The public funeral took place on the i8th of November, and was attended by the Prince 
Consort and all the chief officers of State. The body was removed by torchlight, on the 
evening previous, to the Horse Guards, under an escort of cavalry. At dawn on the i8th the 
solemn ceremony began. From St. Paul's Cathedral, down Fleet Street, along the Strand, by 
Charing Cross and Pall Mall, to St. James's Park, troops lined both sides of the streets ; while 
in the park itself, columns of infantry, cavalry, and artillery were formed ready to fall into 
their proper places in the procession, of which we publish two interesting engravings. How 
it was conducted with what respectful interest watched by high and low how solemn the 
notes of the bands, as one after another they took up and entoned the " Dead March in 
Saul " how grand, yet how touching the scene in the interior of St. Paul's none but those 
who can remember it can realise. 

A man of genius in France is rightly placed on a kind of throne, and considered a " king of 
thought;" so the obsequies of so truly illustrious a poet as Victor Hugo, which took place in 
Paris, June I, 1885, assumed proportions rarely accorded even to the mightiest sovereigns. 
Unfortunately, it was marred by the desecration of a noted church, the Pantheon ; for it 
pleased a political party in power to make out that Hugo had denied even the existence of 
God, and this notwithstanding the fact that every page of his works is a testimony to his 

ex-' .ifor/<xf.\'<;. 

FIG. 53. Funeral of the Duke of Wellington, November 18, 1852. The Procession passing Apsley House.- 
From an original sketch, reproduced expressly for this publication. 


Fir,. 54. Funeral of the Duke of Wellington, November 18, 1852. Scene inside St. Paul's. 
Reproduced from an original sketch, expressly for this publication. 


ardent creed in the Almighty and his hope in the life to come. The lying-in-state took 
place under the Arch of Triumph, which was decorated with much taste by a huge black veil 
draped across it. Flaring torches lighted up the architectural features of the monument, 
and also the tremendous throng of spectators. The arch looked solemn enough, but the 
behaviour of the people who surrounded it was the reverse, especially at night. On 
Thursday, June I, early in the day, which was intensely hot, the procession began to 
move from the Arc de Triomphe to the Pantheon, and presented a scene never to be 
forgotten. The coffin was a very simple one, in accordance with the poet's wishes to be 
buried like a pauper ; but what proved the chief charm of this really poetical spectacle 
was the amazing number of huge wreaths carried by the countless deputations from all 
parts of France, and sent from every city of Europe and America. There were some 15,000 
wreaths of foliage and flowers carried in this strange procession, many of which were of 
colossal dimensions, so that when one beheld the cortege from the bottom of the 
Champs Elysees, for instance, it looked like a huge floral snake meandering along. The 
bearers of the wreaths were hidden beneath them, and these exquisite trophies of early 
summer flowers, combined with the glittering helmets of the Guards, the bright costumes 
of the students, and, above all, with the veritable walls of human beings towering up on all 
sides, filling balconies and windows, covering roofs and every spot wherever even a glimpse 
of the pageant could be obtained, created a spectacle as unique as it was picturesque. 


FIG. 55. Funeral of Victor Hugo, Paris, Jtme I, 1885. 



Flo. 56 Her Imperial Majesty the Empress Frederick of Germany, Princess Royal of Great Britain. 

|HE solemn but exceedingly simple obsequies of that much regretted and most 
able man His Royal Highness the Prince Consort, took place at Windsor 
on the 23rd December, 1861. At his frequently expressed desire it was 
of a private character ; but all the chief men of the state attended the 
obsequies in the Royal Chapel. The weather was cold and damp, the 
sky dull and heavy. There was a procession of state carriages to St. George's Chapel, at 
the door of which the Prince of Wales and the other royal mourners were assembled to receive 
the corpse. The grief of the poor children was very affecting, little Prince Arthur especially, 
sobbing as if his heart were breaking. When all was over, and the last of the long, lingering 

Ki<;. 57. Funeral of His Royal Highness the Prince Consort, at Windsor, December 23, 1861. 


train of mourners had departed, the attendants descended into the vault with lights, and moved 
the bier and coffin along the narrow passage to the royal vault. The day was observed 
throughout the realm as one of mourning. The bells of all the churches were tolled, 
and in many of them special services were held. In the towns the shops were closed, 
and the window blinds of private residences were drawn down. No respectable people appeared 
abroad except in mourning, and in seaport towns the flags were hoisted half-mast high. The 
words of the Poet Laureate were scarcely too strong : 

" The shallow of his loss moved like eclipse, 
Darkening the world. We have lost him : he is gone : 
\Ve know him now : all narrow jealousies 
Are silent; and we see him as he moved, 
How modest, kindly, all-accomplished, wise ; 
With what sublime repression of himself, 
And in what limits, and how tenderly ; 
Not swaying to this faction or to that ; 
Not making his high place the lawless perch 
Of wing'd ambitions, nor a vantage ground 
For pleasure ; but thro' all this tract of years 
Wearing the white flower of a blameless life, 
Ucfore a thousand peering littlenesses, 
In that fierce light which beats upon a throne, 
And blackens every blot: for where is he 
\\ ho dares foreshadow for an only son 
A lovelier life, a more unstained than his?" 

\Yhen Her Majesty became a widow, she slightly modified the conventional English 
widow's cap, by indenting it over the forehead a la Marie Stuart, thereby imparting to it 
a certain picturesqueness which was quite lacking in the former head-dress. This coifure has 
been not only adopted by her subjects, but also by royal widows abroad. The etiquette of 
the Imperial House of Germany obliges the Empress Frederick to introduce into her costume 
two special features during the earlier twelve months of her widowhood. The first concerns the 
cap, which is black, having a Marie Stuart point over the centre of the forehead, and a long 
veil of black crape falling like a mantle behind to the ground. The second peculiarity of this 
stately costume is that the orthodox white batiste collar has two narrow white bands falling 
straight from head to foot. This costume has been very slightly modified from what it was 
three centuries ago, when a Princess of the House of Hohenzollern lost her husband. 


From a Photograph by Messrs, W. &* D, Downey. 


HE first general mourning ever proclaimed in America was on the occasion 
of the death of Benjamin Franklin, in 1791, and the next on that of 
Washington, in 1799. The deep and wide-spread grief occasioned by the 
melancholy death of the first President, assembled a great concourse of 
people for the purpose of paying him the last tribute of respect, and on 
Wednesday, December 18, 1799, attended by military honours and the simplest but grandest 
ceremonies of religion, his body was deposited in the family vault at Mount Vernon. Never 
in the history of America did a blow fall with more terrible earnestness than the news of the 
assassination of President Lincoln on April 14, 1865. All party feeling was forgotten, and sorrow 
was universal. The obsequies were on an exceedingly elaborate scale, and a generous people 
paid a grateful and sincere tribute to a humane and patriotic chieftain. After an impressive 
service, the embalmed body was laid in state in the Capitol at Washington, guarded by 
officers with drawn swords, and afterwards the coffin was closed for removal to Springfield, the 
home of the late President, a distance of about 1,700 miles. It took twelve days to accomplish 
the journey. The car which conveyed the remains was completely draped in black, the 
mourning outside being festooned in two rows above and below the windows, while each 
window had a strip of mourning connecting the upper with the lower row. Six other cars, 
all draped in black, were attached to the train, and contained the escort, whilst the engine 
was covered with crape and its flags draped. At several cities en route a halt was made, in 
order to permit people to pay tributes of respect to the deceased, and several times the body 
was removed from the train, so that funeral services might be held. At last, on the 3rd of 
May, the train reached Springfield, and after a brief delay the procession moved with befitting 
ceremony to Oak Ridge Cemetery, President Lincoln's final resting-place. During the period 
intervening between President Lincoln's death and his interment, every city and town in the 
United States testified the greatest grief, and public expressions of mourning were universal. 
To take New York, as an instance, that city presented a singularly striking appearance. Scarce a 
house in it but was not draped in the deepest mourning, long festoons of black and white muslin 
drooped sadly everywhere, and even the gay show-cases outside the shop doors were dressed 
with funereal rosettes. The gloom which prevailed was intense. In many places, however, the 
decorations, though sombre, were exceedingly picturesque, the dark tones being relieved by 
the bright red and blue of the national colours, entwined with crape. 

Scarcely less magnificent were the obsequies accorded by the people of America to 
General Grant. Funeral services were observed in towns and cities of every state and territory 
of the Union, amidst a display of mourning emblems unparallelled. In New York, for two 


weeks previous to the funeral ceremony, preparations of the most elaborate description were 
going on, and the best part of the city was densely draped. The route of the procession to 
the tomb was 9 miles long, and it is estimated that three million persons saw the cortege, in 
which over 50,000 people joined, including 30,000 soldiers. Some further idea of the mag- 
nitude of this solemn procession can be ormed when it is stated that its head reached the 
grave three hours and a half before the funeral car arrived. This car was exceptionally 
imposing, inasmuch as it was drawn by 24 black horses, each one led by a coloured servant, 
and each covered with sable trappings which swept the street. 

Another imposing funeral, which many who are still young can remember, was that ot 
his Majesty Victor Emmanuel, the first King of United Italy, who died in Rome early in 
1878. His obsequies were conducted with all the pomp of the Roman Catholic religion, and 
the catafalque, erected in the centre of the Pantheon, was supremely imposing. We give an 
engraving of it, which will afford an excellent idea of its great magnificence. 


HE ingenious idea of the Magasin de Deuil, or establishment exclusively 
devoted to the sale of mourning costumes and of the paraphernalia necessary 
for a funeral, has long been held to be exclusively French ; but our quick- 
witted neighbours have, to speak the truth, originated very few things ; for 
was not the father of French cookery a German physician in attendance on 
Francis I., assisted by an Italian cardinal, Campeggio, who, by the way, came to England on 
the occasion of the negotiations in connection with the divorce of Queen Catherine of 
Arragon. The Magasin de Deuil is but a brilliant and elaborate adaptation of the old Mercerie 
de lutto which has existed for centuries, and still exists, in every Italian city, where people in 
the haste of grief can obtain in a few hours all that the etiquette of civilisation requires for 
mourning in a country whose climate renders speedy interment absolutely necessary. Con- 
tinental ideas are slow to reach this country, but when they do find acceptance with us, they 
rarely fail to attain that vast extension so characteristic of English commerce. Such develop- 
ment could scarcely be exhibited in a more marked manner than in Jay's London General 
Mourning Warehouse, Regent Street, an establishment which dates from the year 1841, 
and which during that period has never ceased to increase its resources and to complete 
its organisation, until it has become, of its kind, a mart unique both for the quality and 
the nature of its attributes. Of late years the business and enterprise of this firm has 
enormously increased, and it includes not only all that is necessary for mourning, but also 
departments devoted to dresses of a more general description, although the colours are 
confined to such as could be worn for either full or half mourning. Black silks, however, 
are pre-eminently a speciality of this house, and the Continental journals frequently announce 
that " la maison Jay de Londres a fait de forts achats" Their system is one from which 
they never swerve. It is to buy the commodity direct from the manufacturers, and to 
supply it to their patrons at the very smallest modicum ot profit compatible with the 
legitimate course of trade. The materials for mourning costumes must always virtually, 
remain unchangeable, and few additions can be made to the list of silks, crapes, paramattas, 
cashmeres, grenadines, and tulles as fabrics. They and their modifications must be ever in 
fashion so long as it continues fashionable to wear mourning at all ; but fashion in design, 
construction, and embellishment may be said to change, not only every month, but well- 
nigh every week. 

The fame of a great house of business like this rests more upon its integrity and the 
expedition with which commands are executed than anything else. To secure the very best 
goods, and to have them made up in the best taste and in the latest fashion, is one of the 
principal aims of the firm, which is not unmindful of legitimate economy. For this purpose, every 

9 6 

.1 HISTORY O/' MO('RX/.\<;. 

season competent buyers visit the principal silk marts of Europe, such as Lyons, Genoa, and 
Milan, for the purpose of purchasing all that is best in quality and pattern. Immediate 
communication with the leading designers of fashions in Paris has not been neglected ; and it 
may be safely said of this great house of business, that if it is modelled on a mediaeval 
Italian principle, it has missed no opportunity to assimilate to itselt every modern improvement. 
Private mourning in modern times, like everything else, has been greatly altered and 
modified, to suit an age of rapid transit and travel. Men no longer make a point of wearing 

FIG. do. Funeral of Earl Palmersloti. in Westminster Abbey, Oct. 27, 1865. 

full black for a fixed number of months after the decease of a near relation, and even content 
themselves with a black hat-band and dark-coloured garments. Funeral ceremonies, too, are 
less elaborate, although during the past few years a growing tendency to send flowers to the 
grave has increased in every class of the community. The ceremonial which attends our State 
funerals is so well known that it were needless to describe them. We, however, give, as 
"records," illustrations of the funerals of Lord Palmerston, Lord Beaconsfield, Mr. Darwin, and 
of the much-regretted Emperor Frederick of Germany, a function which was extremely imposing, 
as the etiquette of the German Court still retains many curious relics of bygone times. 


ENERAL Court mourning in this country is regulated by the Duke of 
Norfolk, as Earl Marshal, but exclusively Court mourning for the Royal 
Family by the Lord Chamberlain. 

The order for Court mourning to be observed for the death of a foreign 
sovereign is issued by the Foreign Office, and transmitted 'thence to the 
Lord Chamberlain. 

Here is the form of the order for general mourning to be worn on the occasion of the 

death of the Prince Consort : 

COLLEGE OF ARMS, Dec. 16, 1866. 

Deputy Earl Marshal's Order for a General Mourning for His late Royal Highness 

the Prince Consort. 

In pursuance of Her Majesty's commands, this is to give public notice that, upon the melancholy 
occasion of the death of His Royal Highness the Prince Consort, it is expected that all persons do 

forthwith put themselves into decent mourning. 


The order to the army is published from the War Office : 

HORSE GUARDS, Dec. 18, 1861. 
Orders for the Mourning of the Army foi His late Royal Highness the Prince Consort. 

The General commanding-in-chief has received Her Majesty's commands to direct, on the present 
melancholy occasion of the death of H.R.H. the Prince Consort, that the officers of the army be 
required to wear, when in uniform, black crape over the ornamental part of the cap or hat, over the 
sword-knot, and on the left arm ; with black gloves, and a black crape scarf over the sash. The 
drums are to be covered with black, and black crape is to hang from the head of the colour-staff of 
the infantry, and from the standard-staff of cavalry. When officers appear at Court in uniform, they 
are to wear black crape over the ornamental part of the cap or hat, over the sword-knot, and on the 
left arm ; with black gloves and a black crape scarf. 

A like order was issued by the Admiralty, addressed to the officers and men of the 

Royal Navy. 



December 16, 1861. 

Orders for the Court to go into Mourning for His late Royal Highness the Prince Consort. 
The LADIES attending Court to wear black woollen Stuffs, trimmed with Crape, plain Linen, black 
Shoes and Gloves, and Crape Fans. 

The GENTLEMEN attending Court to wear black Cloth, plain Linen, Crape Hatbands, and black 
Swords and Buckles. 

The Mourning to commence from the date of this Order. 




December 31, 1861. 

Orders for the Court's change, of Mourning, on Monday, the zfth January next, for His late 

Royal Highness the Prince Consort, viz. : 

The LADIES to wear black Silk Dresses, trimmed with Crape, and black Shoes and Gloves, black 
Fans, Feathers, and Ornaments. 

The GENTLEMEN to wear black Court Dress, with black Swords and Buckles, and plain Linen. 

The Court further to change tJie Mourning on Monday the i -]th of February next, ris. : 
The LADIES to wear black Dresses, with white Gloves, black or white Shoes, Fans, and Feathers, 
and Pearls, Diamonds, or plain Gold or Silver Ornaments. 

The GENTLEMEN to wear black Court Dress, with black Swords and Buckles. 

And on Monday the \oth of March next, the Court to go out of Mourning. 



November 7, 1817. 

Orders for the Court's going into Mourning on Sunday next, the gth instant, for Her late Royal 
Highness the Princess Charlotte Augusta, Daughter of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, 
and Consort of His Serene Highness the Prince Leopold Saxe-Cobourg, viz. : 

The LADIES to wear black Bombazines, plain Muslin, or long Lawn Crape Hoods, Shamoy Shoes 
and Gloves, and Crape Fans. 

Undress : Dark Norwich Crape. 

The GENTLEMEN to wear black cloth without buttons on the Sleeves or Pockets, plain Muslin, or 
long Lawn Cravats and Weepers, Shamoy Shoes and Gloves, Crape Hatbands and black Swords and 

Undress: Dark Grey Frocks. 

For LADIES, black Silk, fringed or plain Linen, white Gloves, black Shoes, Fans, and Tippets, 
white Necklaces and Earrings. 

Undress: White or grey Lustrings, Tabbies, or Damasks. 

For GENTLEMEN, to continue in black, full trimmed, fringed or plain Linen, black Swords and 

Undress: Grey Coats. 

For LADIES, black silk or velvet coloured Ribbons, Fans, and Tippets, or plain white, or white 
and gold, or white and silver Stuffs, with black Ribbons. 

For GENTLEMEN, black Coats and black or plain white, or white and gold, or white and silver 
stuffed Waistcoats, coloured Waistcoats and Buckles. 


[HE Register of "Notices" preserved at the Lord Chamberlain's Offices date 
back from 1773 to 1840. They are written in chronological order from the 
first folio (gth March, 1773) to folio 16 (28th Nov., 1785). After this 
date a number of papers are missing, and, curious to relate, the next entry is 
Oct. 24, 1793, and orders the Court to go into mourning for ten days for 
Her late Majesty Marie Antoinette, Queen of France. 

On the margin of the one for mourning for Louis XVIII., is written a note to the effect 
that the "King this day, Sep. 18, 1824, orders three weeks' mourning for the late King of 
France." At about this time, too, the word "the ladies to wear bombazine gowns" disappears, 
and is replaced by " woolen stuffs." 

Our military etiquette connected with mourning was really modelled on that in use in the 
army of Louis XIV., as is proved by a rather singular fact. In 1737 George II. died, and an 
order was issued commanding the officers and troopers in the British army to wear black crape 
bands and black buttons and epaulettes. Very shortly afterwards the French Government 
issued a decree to the effect that, as the English army had " slavishly imitated the French 
in the matter of wearing mourning," henceforth the officers of the French army should 
make no change in their uniform, and only wear a black band round the arm." Oddly 
enough, at the present moment both the French and the English armies wear precisely the 
same " badge of grief," a black band of crape on the left arm above the elbow. 

The Sovereign can prolong, out of marked respect for the person to be mourned, the 
duration of the period for general and Court mourning. 

The following are regulations for Court mourning, according to the register at the Lord 
Chamberlain's office : 

For the King or Queen full mourning, eight weeks ; mourning, two weeks ; and half- 
mourning, two weeks : in all, three full months. 

For the son or daughter of the Sovereign Full mourning, four weeks ; mourning, one 
week ; and half-mourning, one week : total, six weeks. 

For the brother or sister of the Sovereign full mourning, two weeks ; mourning, four 
days ; and half-mourning, two days : total, three weeks. 

Nephew or niece full mourning, one week ; half-mourning, one week : total, two weeks. 

Uncle or aunt same as above. 

Cousin, ten days ; second cousin, seven days. 


HE following are the accepted reasons for the selection of various colours for 
mourning in different parts of the world : 

Black expresses the privation of light and joy, the midnight gloom of 
sorrow for the loss sustained. It is the prevailing colour of mourning in 
Europe, and it was also the colour selected in ancient Greece and in the 
Roman Empire. 

Black and white striped expresses sorrow and hope, and is the mourning of the South 
Sea Islanders. 

Greyish brown the colour of the earth, to which the dead return. It is the colour of 
mourning in Ethiopia and Abyssinia. 

Pale brown the colour of withered leaves is the mourning of Persia. 

Sky-blue expresses the assured hope that the deceased is gone to heaven, and is the colour 
of mourning in Syria, Cappadocia, and Armenia. 

Deep-blue in Bokhara is the colour of mourning ; whilst the Romans in the days of the 
Republic also wore very dark blue for mourning. 

Purple and violet to express royalty, " Kings and priests of God." It is the colour of 
mourning of Cardinals and of the Kings of France. The colour of mourning in Turkey is violet. 

White emblem of "white-handed hope." The colour of mourning in China. The ladies 
of ancient Rome and Sparta sometimes wore white mourning, which was also the colour for 
mourning in Spain until 1498. In England it is still customary, in several of the provinces, 
to wear white silk hat-bands for the unmarried. 

Yellcnv the sear and yellow leaf. The colour of mourning in Egypt and Burmah. In 
Brittany widows' caps among the peasants are yellow. Anne Boleyn wore yellow mourning for 
Catherine of Arragon, but as a sign of joy. 

Scarlet is also a mourning colour, and was occasionally worn by the French Kings, 

notably so by Louis XI. 








(a) In the i8th Century, the undertaker issued his handbills gruesome things, with 
grinning skulls and shroud-clad corpses, thigh bones, mattocks and pickaxes, hearses, etc. : 

" These are to notice that Mr. John Elphick, Woollen Draper, over against St Michael's Church, in Lewes, 
hath a good Hearse, a Velvet Pall, Mourning Cloaks, and Black Hangings for Rooms, to be lett at Reasonable 

"He also sells all sorts of Mourning and Half Mourning, all sorts of Black Cyprus for Scarfs and Hat- 
bands, and White Silks for Scarfs and Hoods at Funerals ; Gloves of all sorts, and Burying Cloaths for the 

Again : 

" Eleazar Malory, Joiner at the Coffin in White Chapel, near Red Lion Street end, maketh Coffins, Shrouds, 
letteth Palls, Cloaks, and Furnisheth with all the other things necessary for Funerals at Reasonable Rates." 

(b) The dead were formerly buried in woollen, which was rendered compulsory by the 
Acts 30 Car. ii. c. 3 and 36 Ejusdem c. i., the first of which was for " lessening the 
importation of Linen from beyond the seas, and the encouragement of the Woollen and Paper 
Manufactures of the Kingdome." It prescribed that the curate of every parish shall keep a 
register, to be provided at the charge of the parish, wherein to enter all burials and affidavits 
of persons being buried in woollen. No affidavit was necessary for a person dying of the plague, 
but for every infringement a fine of 5 was imposed, one half to go to the informer, and the 
other half to the poor of the parish. This Act was only repealed in 1815. The material used 
was flannel, and such interments are frequently mentioned in the literature of the time. 

(e) Misson throws some light on the custom of using flannel for enveloping the dead, 
but I fancy that it is of much greater antiquity than he imagined. However, he asserts : 

" There is an Act of Parliament which ordains, That the Dead shall be bury'd in a Woollen Stuff, which is a 
kind of a thin Bays, which they call Flannel ; nor is it lawful to use the least Needleful of Thread or Silk. This 
Shift is always White ; but there are different Sorts of it as to Fineness, and consequently of different Prices. Tp 
make these dresses is a particular Trade, and there are many that sell nothing else ; so that these Habits for the 
Dead are always to be had ready made, of what Size or Price you please, for People of Every Age and Sex. After 
they had washed the Body thoroughly clean, and shav'd it, if it be a Man, and his Beard be grown during his 
Sickness, they put it on a Flannel Shirt, which has commonly a sleeve purfled about the Wrists, and the Slit of the 
Shirt down the Breast done in the same Manner. When these Ornaments are not of Woollen Lace, they are at 
least edg'd, and sometimes embroider'd with black Thread. The Shirt shou'd be at least half a Foot longer than the 
Body, that the feet of the Deceas'd may be wrapped in it as in a Bag. When they have thus folded the end of the 
Shirt close to the Feet, they tye the Part that is folded down with a piece of Woollen Thread, as we do our stockings ; 
so that the end of the Shirt is done into a kind of Tuft. Upon the Head they put a Cap, which they fasten with a 
very broad Chin Cloth, with Gloves on the Hands, and a Cravat round the Neck, all of Woollen. That the 
Body may ly the softer, some put a Lay of Bran, about four inches thick, at the Bottom of the Coffin. Instead of a 
Cap, the Women have a kind of Head Dress, with a Forehead Cloth." 


Funeral invitations of a ghastly kind were sent out, and Elegies, laudatory of the deceased, 
were sometimes printed and sent to friends. These were got up in the same charnel-house 
style, and embellished with skulls, human bones, and skeletons. Hat-bands were costly items. 

"For the encouragement of our English silk, called a la modes, His Royal Highness the Prince of 
Denmark, the Nobility, and other persons of quality, appear in Mourning Hatbands made of that silk, to bring 
the same in fashion, in the place of Crapes, which are made in the Pope's Country where we send our money 
for them." 

(d) The poor in Anne's time had already started Burial Clubs and Societies, and very 
cheap they seem to have been. 

"This is to give notice that the office of Society for Burials, by mutual contribution of a Halfpenny or 
Farthing towards a Burial, erected upon Wapping Wall, is now removed into Katherine Wheel Alley, 
in White Chappel, near Justice Smiths, where subscriptions are taken to compleat the number, as also at the 
Ram in Crucifix Lane in Barnaby Street, Southwark, to which places notice is to be given of the death of 
any Member, and where any person may have the printed Articles after Monday next. And this Thursday 
evening about 7 o'clock will be Buried by the Undertakers, the Corpse of J. S., a Glover, over against the Sun 
Brewhouse, in Golden Lane ; as also a child from the corner of Acorn Alley, in Bishopsgate Street, and 
another child from the Great Maze Pond, Southwark." 

(e) Undertakers liked to arrange for a Funeral to take place on an evening in winter, as 
the costs were thereby increased, for then the Mourners were furnished with wax candles These 
were heavy, and sometimes were made of four tapers twisted at the stem and then branching 
out. That these wax candles were expensive enough to excite the thievish cupidity of a band 
of roughs, the following advertisement will show : 

" Riots and Robberies Committed in and about Stepney Church Yard, at a Funeral Solemnity, on 
Wednesday, the 23rd day of September ; and whereas many persons, who being appointed to attend the same 
Funeral with white wax lights of a considerable value, were assaulted in a most violent manner, and the said 
white wax lights taken from them. Whoever shall discover any of the Persons, guilty of the said crimes, so 
as they may be convicted of the same, shall receive of Mr. William Prince, Wax Chandler in the Poultry, 
London, Ten Shillings for each Person so discovered." 

(/) We get a curious glimpse of the paraphernalia of a funeral in the Life of a notorious 
cheat, "The German Princess," who lived, and was hanged, in the latter part of the i/th 
Century, and the same funeral customs therein described obtained in Queen Anne's time. She 
took a lodging at a house, in a good position, and told the landlady that a friend of hers, a 
stranger to London, had just died, and was lying at "a pitiful Alehouse," and might she, for 
convenience sake, bring his corpse there, ready for burial on the morrow. 

"The landlady consented, and that evening the Corps in a very handsome Coffin was brought in a Coach, 
and placed in the Chamber, which was the Room one pair of Stairs next the Street, and had a Balcony. The 
Coffin being covered only with an ordinary black Cloth, our Counterfeit seems much to dislike it ; the 
Landlady tells her that for Jos. she might have the use of a Velvet Pall, with which being well pleas'd, she 
desir'd the Landlady to send for the Pall, and withal accommodate the Room with her best Furniture, for the 
next day but one he should be bury'd ; thus the Landlady performed, setting the Velvet Pall, and placing on 
a Side Board Table 2 Silver Candlesticks, a Silver Flaggon, 2 Standing Gilt Bowls, and several other 
pieces of Plate; but the Night before the intended Burial, our Counterfeit Lady and her Maid within the 
House, handed to their comrades without, all the Plate, Velvet Pall, and other Furniture of the Chamber that 
was Portable and of Value, leaving the Coffin and the supposed Corps, she and her Woman descended from 
the Balcony by help of a Ladder, which her comrades had brought her." 


It is needless to say that the coffin contained only brickbats and hay, and a sad sequel 
to this story is that the undertaker sued the landlady for the loss of his pall, which had 
lately cost him 40. 

According to a request in the will of one Mr. Benjamin Dodd, a Roman Catholic, "Citizen 
and Linnen Draper, who fell from his horse and died soon after," four and twenty persons 
were at his burial, to each of whom he gave a pair of white gloves, a ring of IDS. value, a 
bottle of wine, and half-a-crown to be spent on their return that night, "to drink his Soul's 
Health, then on her Journey for Purification in order to Eternal Rest." He also appointed 
his "Corps" to be carried in a hearse drawn by six white horses, with white feathers, and 
followed by six coaches, with six horses to each coach, and commanded that " no Presbyterian, 
Moderate Low Churchmen, or Occasional Conformists, be at or have anything to do with his 

(g) Parisian funerals at the present day present many features common to those celebrated 
in England in the last century. The church, for instance, is elaborately decorated in black 
for a married man or woman, but in white for a spinister, youth, or child. The costumes of 
the hired attendants, and these are numerous I counted one day, quite recently, no less than 
twenty-four, two to each coach, all handsomely dressed in black velvet are of the time of 
Louis XV. I am assured that the expenses 'of a first-class funeral in Paris, in this year of 
Grace 1889, sometimes exceeds several hundred pounds. 

The lettre de faire part, as it is called, is also a curious feature in the funeral rites of our 
neighbours. It is an elaborate document in the form of a printed letter, deeply edged with 
black, and informs that all the members, near and distant, of the deceased's family they are 
each mentioned by name and title request you, not only to attend the funeral, but to pray 
for his or her soul. 

The fashion of sending costly wreaths to cover the coffin is recent, and was quite as 
unknown in Paris twenty years ago as it was in this country until about the same period. 
Wreaths of immortelles, sometimes dyed black, were, however, sent to funerals in France in 
the Middle Ages. In Brittany, the " wake " is almost as common as it is in Ireland, and quite 
as frequently degenerates into an unedifying spectacle. Like the Irish custom, it originated 
in the early Christian practice of keeping a light burning by the corpse, and in praying for 
the repose of the soul, coram the corpse prior to its final removal to the church and grave, 
certain pagan customs, the distribution of wine and bread, having been introduced, at first 
possibly from a sense of hospitality, and finally as means of carousal. 













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